Use care to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

From staff reportsFebruary 13, 2014 

— Wake County officials and the federal Centers for Disease Control are warning residents to use caution to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning during power outages.

The Wake County Emergency Operation Center warned Thursday that people should not use alternative energy sources to keep warm when power has gone off. The danger of using stoves or other heaters is that they create carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly.

“Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it cannot be seen or smelled,” said Jon Olson, the center’s Operations Section Chief. “People should take precautions to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to themselves and their families and should never use alternative heating sources or cooking equipment to stay warm.”

The center and the CDC offered the following tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:

•  Do not use a charcoal or gas grill inside your home or garage.

•  Do not warm up a vehicle in a garage, even with the garage door up. If necessary, warm your car up outside.

•  When using a generator, make sure to follow operating instructions carefully.

•  Don’t put fuel into a generator when it is running.

•  Connect appliances directly to the generator.

•  If the generator provides power directly into a home’s electrical system, make sure it has been installed correctly and that it has been inspected.

• Don’t heat your house with a gas oven.

• Seek prompt medical attention if you suspect CO poisoning and are feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous.

“People can protect themselves against CO poisoning by installing CO alarms in their houses and testing regularly,” Olson said in a news release. “They can also protect themselves with the proper installation, use, venting and maintenance of household cooking and heating equipment.

“If the CO alarm goes off, leave the house immediately; leave doors open and call 911 for assistance. Request immediate medical attention if anyone shows signs or symptoms of exposure.”

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