Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning Prevention
Every year people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning. When power outages occur after severe weather (such as winter storms), using alternative sources of power can cause CO to build up in a home and poison the people and animals inside.
CO is found in fumes produced by portable generators, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces.
Change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don't have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon.
How to Recognize CO Poisoning
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.
Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage, even with the door open. Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.