Lung Association of Saskatchewan warns of carbon monoxide in homes after blizzard

The Lung Association of Saskatchewan is warning vents from dryers could be blocked with snow, causing a poisonous gas to build up indoors. Files / Global News

After a blizzard struck parts of the province on Sunday night, the Lung Association of Saskatchewan is asking everyone in the affected areas to clear their home’s exhaust vents of snow.

That’s because blocked exhaust ports for furnaces, fireplaces and dryers can result in a buildup of carbon monoxide – an invisible, odourless and poisonous gas.

“There’s no taste, there’s no smell and there’s no colour, so you don’t actually know it’s there,” said Jennifer May, a vice-president with the association.

Read more: What you need to know about carbon monoxide poisoning

She added it’s important people recognize the symptoms since there is no other way to know if carbon monoxide — or CO — is present.

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Those symptoms include headaches, dizziness and confusion in low concentrations of the gas.

In higher concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause comas and death.

According to the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs, carbon monoxide poisoning kills 50 people a year and sends hundreds of people to hospital.

May said the best thing to do if you think you are suffering from CO poisoning is to get outside.

Read more: Carbon monoxide poisoning, DIY dangers were factors in B.C. couple’s deaths, watchdog says

“If you do find that you do have symptoms, the best thing to do is not to become a detective and try and figure out where the source is,” she told Global News.

“This is the time to get out of your home, to call 911 once you’re out in the fresh air and have professionals come in and do that assessment.”

May said it’s important that every household have a carbon monoxide detector and residents regularly check the batteries.

—With files from Maryam Shah

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