Placer County Cautions Lake Tahoe Residents on use of Alternative Heating Sources During Electrical Outages
TAHOE CITY, CALIF. – In the aftermath of the severe storms over the New Year’s weekend, many residential areas at Lake Tahoe remain without electrical power, or will experience intermittent power outages for the next 24 to 48 hours. The Placer County Office of Emergency Services is reminding Lake Tahoe residents to use caution if they are using alternative heating sources.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can become a threat when snow piles up against vents for gas heaters and wood stoves. When vents become clogged with snow or ice, carbon monoxide can accumulate and pose a serious health threat.
"Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless gas that can be deadly," said Dr. Richard J. Burton, the Placer County health officer. "It can pose a real danger if basic precautions are not followed."
Precautions include ensuring venting is cleared of obstructions and making sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working. Heating with improperly vented devices or using fuels not designed for home heating, such as charcoal briquettes, should be avoided.
Dr. Burton also reminds all county residents to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include nausea, headaches and mental confusion. Residents should seek medical assistance promptly if symptoms occur.
As snow levels increase with subsequent storms, residents should clear snow and ice accumulations from around vents. Snow should also be cleared from connections and piping to propane tanks to prevent potential explosions.
Ash from wood and pellet stoves should be disposed of properly to prevent fires. Ashes should be kept in metal or other non-combustible containers and never placed on decks, in garbage containers, dumpsters or other places where the ashes could start a fire.
The weekend storms have downed many utility lines and poles. Any downed line should be considered a live electric line. Anyone finding a downed line should avoid contact and call 911.