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Report by Paula Antolini
May 18, 2018 7:35PM EDT
CT State Dept. Public Health: Residents Without Power from Yesterday’s Storms Should Take Precautions to Avoid Deadly Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
In the wake of yesterday’s storms, which have left thousands of Connecticut residents without power, the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) warns residents of the dangers of carbon monoxide (CO) and asks that they take steps to prevent deadly CO poisoning. DPH cautions residents to ensure proper use of generators to protect against CO poisoning. Generators should be placed at least 20 feet from the house and never inside the house, enclosed porch or attached garage.
CO is an invisible, odorless gas that can be fatal. Breathing in excessive amounts of CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic those of the flu, including headache, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, or loss of consciousness. People who are sleeping or unconscious can die from CO poisoning before they exhibit any symptoms. DPH warns that anyone exhibiting these symptoms should leave the house immediately and call 911.
Improper use of portable generators have caused more than half of CO poisonings in Connecticut, according to DPH. DPH offers the following safety tips to prevent CO poisoning:
- Never use portable generators or other gasoline-powered equipment (including tools) indoors or in the garage, basement, shed or other enclosed spaces. Even if the garage or shed doors are open, CO gas can still build up to dangerous levels within minutes.
- Place portable generators at least 20-25 feet from your home. There have been instances where exhaust containing CO gas has been blown back into the house and poisoned occupants when outdoor portable generators were close to the house.
- Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is NOT sufficient to prevent buildup of CO in a home.
- Use charcoal and gas grills or camping stoves outdoors only.
DPH developed a video, Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer, to help raise awareness of the dangers of CO and how to prevent poisoning. It is available online in English and Spanish by clicking on the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pe-8QcFJ1ME . More information on Carbon Monoxide can also be found on the DPH website by clicking here.