(SOUTHERN COLORADO) — Black Hills Energy (BHE) shared some safety tips for people to be aware of during the frigid temperatures.

Here are the five cold weather safety tips they stated:

  1. Make sure your furnace vent, gas fireplace vent, and tankless/conventional water heater vents are free from any obstructions or debris.
  2. Never use gas ranges, ovens, or gas grills to heat your home.
  3. Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors, including replacing the batteries, and inspect them regularly.
  4. Natural gas smells like rotten eggs for a reason. If your nose picks up this scent, immediately leave the area and then call 911 once you’re away from the site.
  5. Wait for Black Hills Energy or emergency personnel to arrive before re-entering the building. Emergency personnel will let you know when it’s safe to return.

BHE also wants to warn of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning which can lead to serious injury and even death. Here are warning signs BHE wants people to watch for:

  • Soot buildup on or near a fireplace or furnace chimney.
  • A pilot light that keeps going out.
  • Discolored gas burners.
  • Excessive humidity such as heavily frosted windows.
  • Fireplaces that smoke or won’t draw.
  • Physical symptoms such as headache, nausea, coughing, ringing in the ears, smarting eyes, a ruddy complexion, light-headedness, and drowsiness.

For those who suspect there may be a carbon monoxide problem, BHE said, “leave the premises and call 911. Your local fire department may conduct a carbon monoxide inspection. Some fire departments charge for this service.”

BHE recommends that the Consumer Product Safety Commission guide be followed and people should install at least one UL-listed carbon monoxide alarm. BHE also wants to remind people that carbon monoxide cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled.

Here is a guide to carbon monoxide exposure that BHE wants people to be aware of:

  • Mild Exposure – slight headache, nausea, vomiting, fatigue (flu-like symptoms)
  • Medium Exposure – throbbing headache, drowsiness, confusion, rapid heart rate, and irregular breathing
  • Extreme Exposure– convulsions, unconsciousness, heart and lung failure, and brain damage. These symptoms may result in death.