SRINAGAR The authorities and medical experts have raised an alarm over the improper use of electric and gas heaters after the rise in the incidents of fire and deaths due to suffocation.
With the divisional administration already having issued an advisory for the use of electric gadgets for heating purposes in the winter after many incidents of fire, medical experts have also advised people against the use of unvented gas heaters in closed spaces. While five members of a family are believed to have died last night at Bemina due to suffocation, on December 8 two employees of Mughal Darbar were found dead at outlets factory in Srinagar. They had died due to suffocation after leakage from a gas heater in the food outlets factory at HMT in Srinagar.
The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Saturday asked people to remain cautious in the use heating devices. Use of 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 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, he said.
The DAK president also said that the exposure to the high quantity of carbon monoxide no only produces symptoms of tiredness, shortness of breath, headache, dizziness, nausea, muscle weakness, but can also cause death. He said carbon monoxide is a silent killer. You cant see it, you cant smell it and you cant 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 said.
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.
Unvented 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, he said.
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