DAK issues advisory on use of gas heaters

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Srinagar, Jan 05: Following the death of five members of a family today in Bemina area of Srinagar city due to gas heater, Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday advised people against the use of unvented gas heaters in closed spaces.

“Use of unflued (unvented) gas heaters in closed spaces can prove fatal,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan in a communiqué.

“Unvented gas heater is a commonly used heating appliance during winter to keep rooms warm particularly at night. It has no chimney or flue to vent the combustion products like carbon monoxide outside the home. As a result, this toxic pollutant remains in the room and exposure to high levels of this toxin can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms of which include tiredness, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, nausea, muscle weakness, confusion and even death,” he said.

Dr Nisar said carbon monoxide is a silent killer – You can’t see it, you can’t smell it and you can’t taste it. The individual is rendered completely helpless without feeling the harm thus becoming unconscious during sleep and ultimately leading to death.

“Some people are particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning such as heart disease patients, asthmatics, children and elderly,” he informed

Dr Nisar said the best way to prevent the problems of using an unvented gas heater is to discontinue its use. Instead people should use vented gas heaters that would exhaust these combustion products to outdoors through vent pipes.

“But if people continue using unvented gas heaters, they should not use them in bedrooms, bathrooms or confined spaces,” he said adding that these heaters should only be used in rooms with adequate ventilation.

“Unflued gas heaters should be used no more than four hours per day since they are meant to supplement other heating methods rather than provide the main heating source,” suggested Dr Nisar.