Tragic death sparks warning on use of outdoor gas heaters inside



Tuesday, 21 August 2012

South Australians are being urged never to use outdoor gas heaters inside following the recent death of a man in Victoria from suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

The man was found dead in his home after fire-fighters forced their way into his property. An LP gas patio heater was found in the living room and investigators believe it was being used to heat the home.

Department for Manufacturing, Innovation, Trade, Resources and Energy (DMITRE) Technical Regulator, Rob Faunt, said the death was a tragic example of why outdoor gas appliances, including heaters and barbecues, should never be used inside.

"Carbon monoxide is a silent killer - you can't see it; you can't smell it and you can't taste it," Mr Faunt said.

"Outdoor gas appliances require adequate ventilation to perform safely and are not designed to be used in enclosed spaces.

"If enclosed, the appliance will burn abnormally forming carbon monoxide which can build up rather quickly, reaching potentially fatal levels.

"The golden rule is if an appliance is attached to a portable gas bottle, don't bring it inside."

Mr Faunt said in the cooler southern states of Australia an average of one person dies from carbon monoxide poisoning every year with hundreds more suffering long-term health issues.

"According to SA Health symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include tiredness, shortness of breath, headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness and confusion.

"To avoid these issues I urge people to have all gas appliances, particularly gas heaters, serviced by a licensed gasfitter at least once every two years."

Mr Faunt said the dangers of using LP gas cylinders inside were further highlighted on the weekend when a man in Elizabeth Downs sustained burns after his gas cylinder exploded.

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