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Helena fire officials: Look out for blocked exhaust vents

Posted at 10:59 AM, Mar 02, 2019
and last updated 2019-03-02 13:00:04-05

HELENA- Helena-area fire officials are once again warning people to be vigilant of snow around their homes blocking exhaust vents.

Tri-Lakes Fire Chief Bob Drake is urging people to check around their houses to make sure vents for gas-fired appliances and wood burning stoves are clear.

Chief Drake’s property in the Helena Valley illustrates how deep the snow is, and how it can block exhaust pipes. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide created by fuel-burning appliances to build up, creating a toxic and potentially deadly environment.

“You’ve got to watch your vents, everyday, look at the vents. If the wind has blown look at your vents, because the drifts will drift around them and plug them up, and the carbon monoxide, if it starts coming in your house, it’s colorless, odorless, tasteless, you just won’t wake up. And we don’t want that. It’s easily preventable with a little bit of effort,” Drake stated.

Drake said even if you have cleared the snow already, it is important to regularly recheck it because snow drifts can build back up and fast.

According to a 2016 study released by the Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle, Montana saw 56 accidental carbon monoxide related between 1999 and 2014.

The state ranked third in the U.S. for accidental carbon monoxide related deaths.

-Reported by Christine Sullivan/MTN News