Gas leaks in Dundee are increasing
DUNDEE—The Dundee Fire Department has responded to five natural gas or carbon monoxide leaks so far this year.
With only three months into 2011, these leaks now near the total number for all of last year: seven calls. The most recent leak in Dundee was Wednesday, March 16 in the basement of D. B. Miles Insurance Agency.
Fire Chief Ray Miller said there were a couple of fittings that came loose, but the gas company took care of it. He explained it is common procedure now that when a gas company gets a call about a leak, the fire department is also notified.
According to the New York State Department of Health, carbon monoxide (CO) is dangerous because it is colorless, odorless and tasteless. Prolonged exposure can lead to unconsciousness and possibly death.
Diane Caves, deputy director of Yates County Emergency Management, said CO can build up due to malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances. Room heaters, charcoal grills and vehicles are other sources. The gas also builds up if the area is closed off.
“If there is a leak the best thing to do is get out of the residence and wait for the authorities,” said Miller. The DOH also recommends turning off any electronic appliances if possible and leave doors open as you exit.
To prevent CO from building up and being dangerous, Caves said people should service heating system annually, inspect vents and chimneys, operate equipment as directed, and do not leave a vehicle running in the garage. CO detectors are also available.
The DOH explained that CO poisoning symptoms can be mistaken for flu symptoms. Depending on the air concentration of CO and how long the CO is breathed in, you can experience any of the following symptoms: headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness, loss of muscle control, shortness of breath, chest tightness, visual changes, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart, redness of the skin, confusion and mild behavioral effects such as slowed reaction time or altered driving skills. CO poisoning should be suspected if more than one member of the family is sick and if those who are sick feel better after being away from the area for a period of time.