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Avista Employees Go Beyond Duty for Gas Safety
Post Falls event serves as an important example for gas safety guidelines

March 24, 2014: Three Avista Utilities employees recently saved a Post Falls man from life-threatening carbon monoxide (CO) levels after hearing a generator running inside a little-used building.
                                                                                                   
Avista’s Director of Operations East Greg Gfeller honored three employees for going above and beyond the call of duty to detect dangerous CO levels and remove the man from the potentially life-threatening situation.
 
On February 27, Avista’s Monte Slinkard and Justin Harty were removing a service from a Post Falls commercial building when they heard a generator running inside. The two, along with gas serviceman Dan Holden, accessed the building to find a travel trailer connected to the generator and an air quality reading of 450 parts per million (ppm) of carbon monoxide. The Avista men knocked on the door of the travel trailer to find a man who had been inside sleeping and took him outside to get fresh air. At 400 ppm, carbon monoxide can be life threatening in three hours, and according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), is responsible for nearly 500 deaths annually in the United States.
 
As temperatures fluctuate daily in the spring in the Inland Northwest, this situation is a good reminder of important gas safety guidelines for all residents when using propane heaters, barbecue grills and even warming up vehicles. There are many situations that can lead to elevated carbon monoxide level in unventilated spaces like houses, garages or workshops. Here are some sources that can lead to a CO problem:
·         CO from a barbecue (charcoal, propane or natural gas)
·         Exhaust from running a generator or vehicle in a garage
·         Loose connections or masonry on chimney
·         Loose or missing furnace panel
·         Malfunctioning range, furnace or water heater
 
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that is produced when the combustion of any fuel takes place without sufficient oxygen. It is important for residents to be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide. The initial symptoms are similar to the flu, but without a fever. They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness. If you suspect you or someone is experiencing CO symptoms, get to fresh air immediately and call for medical attention. Also, call Avista at 800-227-9187 and do not reenter the house until we say it is safe.
 
For more information, visit www.avistautilities.com/safety/naturalgas.
About Avista Utilities
Avista Utilities is involved in the production, transmission and distribution of energy. We provide energy services and electricity to 364,000 customers and natural gas to 321,000 customers in a service territory that covers 30,000 square miles in eastern Washington, northern Idaho and parts of southern and eastern Oregon, with a population of 1.5 million.  Avista Utilities is an operating division of Avista Corp. (NYSE: AVA). For more information, please visit www.avistautilities.com.
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