19 July 2022
Energy Safe Victoria (ESV) is warning people not to use outdoor heating appliances to keep their homes warm through a particularly cold Victorian winter, following a carbon monoxide incident this morning.
Six people, including two children, have been hospitalised with carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms in western Sydney today.
Reports suggests the victims had been trying to heat a granny flat by using a charcoal-fuelled barbecue.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless and odourless gas.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can result in serious health issues and even death.
This incident serves as a timely reminder that outdoor gas appliances, such as patio heaters and gas or charcoal-based barbecues, should not be used indoors. These appliances require ventilation to allow the carbon monoxide to escape. In Victoria, the Coroners Court is currently investigating the death of an elderly woman who suffered carbon monoxide poisoning while sleeping in her van at Cohuna in the state’s north in late February. ESV recently provided a report that will form part of the Coronial brief of evidence.
Victorians should always follow health and safety instructions provided with a gas appliance, and operate them only as intended by the manufacturer.
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are typically similar to the flu or COVID-19, including headaches, tiredness, dizziness or nausea. In more severe cases, confusion, shortness of breath or chest pain can be symptoms and very high levels of carbon monoxide can be fatal.
ESV has been advising the community on the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning for more than a decade, most recently with its Be Sure campaign.
Quotes attributable to ESV Commissioner and Chairperson Marnie Williams
“It is cold and people need to stay warm but never use outdoor gas appliances in your house or an enclosed area.” “Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can present like the flu or COVID-19, but can very quickly become fatal.”
Reviewed 24 January 2023