Stay safe with your furnace with return of snow: Parkland Ambulance

Nathan Reiter/Dailly Herald A Prince Albert resident guides a snowplough down the sidewalk after the city was hit with 8.7 cm of snow on Sunday.

With the recent burst of snow and the return of cold weather, emergency services personnel have urged residents to take proper safety precautions around the home.

Furnaces and carbon monoxide are the biggest concerns. Lyle Karasiuk, director of public affairs and logistics for Parkland Ambulance, said high-efficiency furnaces produce water vapour and this can cause problems when the snow piles up.

“Lots of us are using our high efficiency or medium efficiency furnaces (and) they do have vents that vent outside,” Karasiuk explained. “There’s moisture coming out, so that’s going to freeze. Check and make sure that your vents are kept clear of ice and snow.”

Karasiuk said carbon monoxide detectors should be on every floor where people live.

“It is mandatory in the province of Saskatchewan to have a carbon monoxide detector, so please make sure that you do,” Karasiuk said.

Karasiuk explained that people can begin to exhibit flu-like systems from carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless. Having one will ensure residents know when to evacuate a home.

“You have an alert? Get everybody out of the house,” Karasiuk said. “Activate 911 or call Sask. Energy or your local gas fitting company as appropriate, depending on where you are. Please make sure you invest in those resources to keep yourself safe.”

In a multi-family dwelling or apartment, Karasiuk said. It’s important to remember that when these things happen it does not take much to get someone sick or lose a life.

“If suddenly in the morning you have a family of four (that) wakes up and, including the dog or the cat, is sick, nauseated, feeling ill, think carbon monoxide,” he said. “Contact your heating company or get out of the house to do that.”

Also, there are precautions to take if your furnace goes out and you want to keep warm. Karasiuk said that you should not use other appliances or start a fire in this case.

Some properties have garages underneath living spaces and Karasiuk explained that in these garages people often do hobbies and have a space heater.

“It’s winter in Saskatchewan. We need to make sure we take the precautions accordingly. We need to keep ourselves safe,” he said.