Due to the heavy accumulation and drifting of snow experienced in the State of Connecticut, citizens are being informed of a common problem found with furnaces and other heating systems in the storm's aftermath. The problem encountered by many home owners occurs when snow blocks furnace fresh air intakes and exhaust vents. This can cause improper combustion or venting within the furnace or, in some cases, can cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to accumulate inside the home.

Newer heating systems are more vulnerable to these issues due to the location of these vents, which are installed much lower on the side wall of a home.

Homeowners can take the following precautions to ensure their safety:

"¢ Have a properly operating carbon monoxide detector;

"¢ Keep the fresh air intake and exhaust vent area free from snow or ice build-up;

"¢ Homeowners can find the inlets and outlets of your furnace by looking at the heating equipment and following the intake back to where it penetrates the wall. Then check this area outside to ensure no snow is blocking the vents.

Citizens are also reminded to keep alert for symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure. Symptoms and effects vary between individuals, even at the same level of CO exposure, but people typically experience flu-like symptoms, including dizziness, fatigue, weakness, headache or vomiting, trouble breathing or confusion. If anyone suspects symptoms from carbon monoxide exposure they should evacuate the home and call the fire department.

Fire departments are equipped to check for this dangerous condition and can also provide you with assistance in keeping your home CO free.

For more information, contact Jeffrey J. Morrissette, State Fire Administrator at

EOC.FireControl@po.state.ct.us.