SRINAGAR – The Doctors Association Kashmir (DAK) on Wednesday advised people not to use unvented gas heaters in closed spaces.
“People are dying due to use of unvented gas heaters,” said DAK President Dr Nisar ul Hassan.
“Two weeks back, a young couple was found dead in HMT area of Srinagar. They had gone to bed leaving a gas heater switched on in a closed room. Last winter in January, five members of a family died under similar circumstances in Bemina area of Srinagar,” he said.
Dr Nisar said the best way to prevent deaths due to unvented gas heaters is to discontinue their use. He suggested people to use vented gas heaters instead.
“But, if people continue using unvented gas heaters, they should not use them in bedrooms, bathrooms or enclosed spaces,” he said adding “these heaters should only be used in rooms with adequate ventilation.”
He further said unvented gas heaters should be used no more than 4 hours per day, since they are meant to supplement other heating methods rather than provide the main heating source.
Dr Nisar said unvented gas heater is a commonly used heating appliance in Kashmir Valley 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 causes death.
“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer as 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 leading to death. Some people are particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning, such as children, elderly, pregnant women and those with chronic medical conditions,” Dr Nisar added.