Carbon Monoxide Safety During Power Outages

During the fourth week of National Preparedness Month is about focusing on preparedness for blackouts, brownouts, and power outages. But preparedness doesn't just mean having battery or dynamo powered radios and emergency candles... Is your gas tank always at least 1/2 full What about other concerns?

According to the National Weather Service, carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of death after storms in areas experiencing power outages. Using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home and poison your family. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created by burning fuel when using portable generators, gas ranges, burning wood, or by running your car.

WRNWhile deaths occur each year in the U.S. from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, this tragedy is preventable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips for staying safe when the power goes out:

  • Never us a generator inside your home or garage, even if the doors and windows are open;
  • Keep generators at least 20 feet from your home;
  • Install battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area in your home; and
  • Check detectors every six months to be sure they are working properly.

The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, nausea, and confusion. If you think you are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air and seek immediate medical attention!

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