September is National Preparedness Month and this blog on carbon monoxide is part of a series corresponding with the Federal Emergency Management Association’s weekly themes for the month.
After storms where there have been power outages, there is a serious risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in homes, garages, cars, campers, and boats. When the power is out and people employ other methods of generating power for heating or cooking, carbon monoxide can build up and cause you, your family, and your pets to become ill or even die. The National Weather Service has determined that, in such circumstances, carbon monoxide (CO) is a leading cause of death.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, “Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas created by burning fuel when using portable generators, gas ranges, burning wood, or running your car.” Even charcoal and propane grills can cause CO poisoning. Adequate ventilation is always necessary or carbon monoxide begins to build. Carbon monoxide is something you can’t see, can’t smell, and can’t hear.
Thousands of people are sickened each year because of CO poisoning. Sadly, every year hundreds die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea, confusion, shortness of breath and irritability. If you suspect that you have CO poisoning, get fresh air and immediately request medical attention. Learn more about CO poisoning here.
The good news is that CO poisoning is completely avoidable. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers these tips for staying safe when the power goes out:
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