As we all begin to dig out from yesterday’s Nemo snow storm it is time to remember that the build up of ice and snow around or over gas meters and vents for natural gas appliances could pose a serious safety risk. In addition, ice and snow falling from a roof can damage gas meters or service connections to customers' homes or businesses, resulting in a gas leak. Ice and snow blocking vents could cause carbon monoxide (CO) to back up into a building and result in carbon monoxide poisoning for those inside.
To avoid these dangers natural gas customers to closely inspect areas around and over gas meters, service hook-ups and vents for ice and snow that could damage equipment or prevent CO from properly venting.
They also warn that if anyone suspects they may have a gas leak, they should make sure that they, along with any other occupants of their homes (including pets) get out immediately. Open windows to ventilate. Do not use the telephone or light switches for any reason. Once clear of the property, be sure to call your utility company immediately and notify local authorities, including the fire department. Do not return to your home until you are sure it is safe.
Customers of Connecticut Natural Gas can report leaks or emergencies by calling 866 924-5325. Those in Hartford can call 860 246-5325. In Greenwich call 203 869-6913/
For readers in New York, 24- hour gas emergency numbers for are: 718 643-4050 for Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, and 800 490-0045 for Long Island and the Rockaways.
It should also be noted that symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu. Depending upon the amount of carbon monoxide in the air and length of exposure, symptoms may include headaches, weakness, confusion, chest tightness, skin redness, dizziness, nausea, sleepiness, fluttering of the heart or loss of muscle control. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present in your home, go outside immediately and breathe deeply; then call 911. If symptoms are severe, get medical attention right away.