Safety Tips from the CDC
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled. When power outages occur during emergencies such as hurricanes or winter storms, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating, cooling, or cooking can cause CO to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside.
Every year, more than 400 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning.
Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. 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.
Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips
Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
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.
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 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, move to outside air, call 911 or your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or consult a health care professional right away.
Businesses can help ensure your customers’ safety by placing important information about protecting oneself from CO poisoning in the direct vicinity of generators they are selling.