On Jan. 18, 2023, the counseling center’s clinical office experienced a carbon monoxide leak. A visual inspection during “routine maintenance” of a natural gas furnace reportedly showed that the furnace had malfunctioned, and that it was releasing carbon monoxide into the building.
The furnace was reportedly immediately shut down and the building was evacuated.
Fire and Emergency Medical Services responded to the incident, and “several employees had symptoms related to carbon monoxide poisoning,” representative Nathan Strait says. The employees reportedly received “appropriate levels” of treatment based on their symptoms.
Strait says the Ephraim clinical office will remain closed until Thursday, January 25th as an HVAC contractor replaces the furnace. During the clinical building closure, outpatient services will reportedly be offered in an adjacent administration building on the same campus.
“At this point, we have replaced the heater that had caused the issue. As a precaution, we have also replaced two other heaters that were the same age as the one replaced in the clinic. We have also installed carbon monoxide detectors in our outpatient offices to prevent a similar instance in the future,” Strait says.
“We are thankful for the quick response of all emergency providers and the medical care that was provided. This is a great example of the need to be ever vigilant for the dangers around us that we often do not perceive.”
Carbon monoxide, sometimes referred to as the “silent killer,” causes more than 50,000 emergency department visits in the United States and at least 430 deaths each year, according to University of Utah Health.
Americans ages 65 and older reportedly have the highest risk of death from carbon monoxide poisoning. The university says that in Utah, there were 192 emergency department visits and four deaths reported in 2021. During the winter months, the risk for poisoning increases.
Automobile exhaust, small gasoline engines, camp lanterns and stoves, charcoal grills, gas ranges, and furnaces are some examples of sources of carbon monoxide.
Here are some tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.