VBA warns on carbon monoxide poisoning risks following Hobart house incident
Carbon monoxide poisoning was to blame for the hospitalisation of 11 Hobart residents this week.
The Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS) conducted gas monitoring at the scene and confirmed that carbon monoxide levels were at least four to five times above safe. It also found that the readings were caused by a solid fuel barbeque used inside for cooking.
This further highlighted the risk of using appliances designed for outdoor heating or cooking while indoors and in confined spaces.
Victorian Building Authority’s (VBA) executive director of operations Alison Byrne says the thoughts of all Victorians were with the families affected by the carbon monoxide poisoning incident.
“Sadly, as we see all too frequently, particularly during winter, serious injuries and close calls can and do occur where people use outdoor cooking and heating appliances fuelled by gas, charcoal and other combustion means, indoors or in confined spaces,” she says.
“The improper use of such appliances can quickly turn into a tragic situation due to carbon monoxide poisoning.”
Unlike wood and gas heaters that are flued or ducted to the outside to remove carbon monoxide gas, outdoor cookers and outdoor heaters are not flued or designed for indoor use.
“This incident is a timely reminder for Victoria’s plumbing practitioners to also speak to their clients about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning where flued indoor heaters are faulty or poorly maintained,” Alison adds.
“Carbon monoxide is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it is colourless and odourless, so it is important for the community to take it very seriously.”
The VBA and Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) encourage regular maintenance and servicing of gas heaters – at least every two years – by a plumber licensed in the appropriate class of gasfitting.
In addition, the VBA, ESV and Master Plumbers jointly conduct webinars for appropriately registered and licensed gasfitters and plumbers to refresh training and highlight changes and issues in testing and servicing gas appliances.