A Victorian coroner recently called for a majour manuevre, asking for the phasing out of open-flue heaters across the AU, due to them being a potential health hazard.
Firstly, there are hundreds of thousands of open-flue heater across the AA, which would make htat praticular task, difficult, to say the least. Secondly, there are hundreds of thousands of them across the AU, meaning that there are a lot of people at risk from them.
If you’re wondering if you should call your nearest Brisbane plumber or gas fitter, then an explanation would be handy. According to Victoria coroner Jacqui Hawkins, who looked into the death of 62-year-old Ms. Sofianopoulos, and discovered that she had died from carbon monoxide poisoning. The report details that the open-flue gas heater in her Greens borough unit was releasing its carbon monoxide waste into the unit itself, which, when combined with the active exhaust fan in the room, and the refitting done by te DHHS, resulted in the unit being a silent death trap.
Open-flue gas heaters are designed for open, well-ventilated spaces, not for the confines of small rooms and insulated homes, as they need a way to release their carbon monoxide byproduct. The DHHS did some refitting home across the AU, where the sealed up old properties for insulation, which also contributed, in part to the death.
Hawkins called on the Australian Gas Association and Energy Safe Victoria to work together in order to phase out the heater type from the country’s market.
Now, if it sounds a little scary, to learn that something in your house, something you rely on in order to keep yourself warm and comfortable, can actually lead to you being a cold, lifeless corpse, then you’re not the only one. Modern safety standards are constantly changing in response to the newest developments today, but sometimes, like in this situation, they change after tragedy, which feels, bittersweet, if such were an apt term for this.
Hawkins is also asking for manufacturers of open-flue heaters to publish articles in newspapers about the necessity of having heaters undergo regular servicing, as well as to require any gasfitter to be properly trained on how to install heaters, as per international safety standards.
Master Plumbers CEO Peter Daly says that the lessons learnt from the inquiry revealed that more needed to be done by the industry and regulators to avoid such a tragedy from happening again.
Certainly, a harsh lesson.