Chico, Calif.--Today at station five PG&E demonstrated one of their gas appliance safety checks.
"There's cases in the local area and around the country every year of an appliance malfunctioning or something, the residence filling with carbon monoxide and people either getting severely sick, or in some cases they die," said fire captain J.P. Gassiot.
According to the CDC, more than 400 Americans die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and more than 20,000 visit the emergency room because of it.
Paul Moreno of PG&E said this can be prevented by having your appliances inspected. Their safety checks are available to all of their customers and take anywhere between 15 and 45 minutes.
"Furnace, range, stove, heater, water heater...These are appliances that if not working correctly can pose a hazard with carbon monoxide," Moreno said.
They won't do any major repairs of appliances, but will make adjustments as needed.
PG&E says it doesn't matter how low the temperatures drop this winter, you never want to use your appliances to heat your home.
"You simply want to use a heater in that case, or whatever heat source that you have that's safe to do so. Be sure not to use a portable propane heater indoors either," Moreno said.
Chico fire said it's important for all residents to have smoke detectors which are required by law, and that their batteries are up-to-date.
"The biggest thing is a properly functioning carbon monoxide detector is a really good tool to ensure family safety," Gassiot said.
"Definitely take advantage of this program and check your carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they're within the proper age range,” Moreno said.
If you are a PG&E customer and interested in scheduling one of these free safety checks, you can do so by calling customer service.