Winter season has officially begun in all parts of Pakistan and due to the harsh winters, ever year a number of families lose their lives due to suffocation as they keep their gas heaters on for the whole night during sleep. The deaths occur due to the carelessness of the people, but it is also mainly because majority of the population in Pakistan are unaware of the safety and precautionary measures needed to avoid losses while using gas heaters in the winters.
The hazards of using gas heaters is because they release poisonous and hazardous emissions such as Carbon monoxide directly in to the room. Not only this, but gas heaters also increase the level of indoor pollutants that can potentially harm your health including high risks of respiratory problems. Apart from these reasons, another reason due to which gas heaters are considered really dangerous is that they consume oxygen while burning, which causes lower amounts of oxygen in the room if not properly ventilated. Poisoning can also occur due to leakage of gas heaters accidentally in closed rooms.
Safety and Precautions while using Gas Heaters:
Below we’ll describe some of the precautionary and safety measures that are necessary while using gas heaters. They are:
- Choose a gas heater that is appropriately sized for the room.
- Always turn your heater off before going to bed or leaving your home.
- Make sure that the heater, regulator, and hose connectors of your unit are well-connected and maintained.
- Don’t use flammable liquids, sprays, or aerosols near the heater.
- Don’t sit or stand close to the heater, it might feel nice and warm, but don’t take gas burns lightly.
- Always ensure that the room in use is well-ventilated. In case it becomes stuffy, open windows and doors to allow fresh air in immediately. Carbon monoxide released from the gas heaters is odorless and colorless, if it goes completely unnoticed, can cause serious illness or, in severe cases, death due to suffocation.
- Follow manufacturer’s guidelines carefully.
- When you smell gas, don’t at all light flames or create sparks in the room, this also includes lighting a cigarette.
- Don’t operate light switches, appliances, or telephones if you smell gas.
- Leave the area with the doors and windows wide open. Shut off the gas at the gas bottle valve by turning it off at the right direction. Don’t turn it back on until it is checked by a qualified gas technician.
- Don’t return inside your room/home until the gas has had enough time to diffuse away.
To conclude, if the gas heater users take proper precautionary and safety measures while using gas heaters, no hazardous incidents will occur. But even if a little carelessness is shown while doing so, dangerous and life threatening incidents may come about.
Life Threatening Effects of using Gas Heaters
Although gas heaters are very useful in winters to keep one warm from the extreme cold weather, but if proper care isn’t taken, it can cost you your lives. There are many life threatening effects of using gas heaters out of which we’ll be discussing some of the most dangerous ones today. A gas heater can cause serious health problems. Serious health problems while using gas heaters only occur when it is on and it releases carbon monoxide in the air, which is considered really dangerous and even fatal in extreme cases.
The reason why Carbon monoxide (CO) is considered dangerous is because it’s colorless and odorless. Higher levels of CO in the air may cause people to pass out or even die. Children, older people, pregnant woman and their unborn babies, and people with chronic illnesses such as heart and lung disease are at increased risk from air pollutants, including carbon monoxide. Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning include:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
Apart from the CO poisoning, there are also life threatening effects of natural gas leakage if the gas is leaked for a long time.
Deaths due to Suffocation by Gas Heaters:
Every year, during winter, a number of families in Pakistan suffocate to death because of sleeping the whole night with the gas heaters on or due to gas leakage. Last year in December, we heard that a couple lost their lives after they forgot to switch off the gas heater in their room in Char Chak, Rasala. Similarly, last year in January, a family of five members died of suffocation caused by gas leak in Abbottabad. Not only this, but in the same city Abbottabad, five men lost their lives as they left the gas heater on the entire night and were found dead the next morning.
These are only a few of the incidents that occurred due to people not taking proper precautionary measures while using gas heaters. There are much more similar incidents that occur each year in Pakistan due to carelessness of people which then in turn cost their lives. To conclude, proper precautionary and safety measures must be taken while using gas heaters by each individual so that they can save themselves and their families from harmful incidents that can in extreme cases, take their lives.