Many people use generators improperly; Charcoal grills should never be used indoors.
Hartford – With the approaching storm, 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. When power goes out many people run portable generators inside or close to the home, or use charcoal grills inside the home. Generators should be placed at least 20 feet from the house and never inside the house, enclosed porch or attached garage. Charcoal grills should never be used indoors.
CO is an invisible, odorless gas that can be fatal. The symptoms of CO poisoning can mimic those of the flu, including headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or loss of consciousness.
DPH offers the following safety tips to prevent CO poisoning:
- Never use portable generators or other gasoline-powered equipment (including tools) inside your home, garage, carport, basement or other enclosed spaces. Be sure to place portable generators at least 20 feet from your home.
- Use gasoline-powered equipment outside and away from doors, windows or air intake vents.
- Use grilling apparatus such as charcoal or gas grills outdoors only.
- Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is NOT sufficient to prevent buildup of CO in a home.
- Make sure inlets and outlets for your furnace are free of snow. Some furnaces have exhaust vents that could become blocked by snow, causing ventilation problems. Know what type of exhaust system your furnace has and where the exhaust inlets and outlets are located for your home.
- Get out of the house and seek medical help immediately if you or a family member has unexplained/sudden onset of symptoms of CO poisoning. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
- Call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s home and the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.
- After a snow storm, make sure your car's exhaust pipe is clear. A clogged exhaust pipe could lead to carbon monoxide buildup in your vehicle. Fatalities have resulted from people trying warm themselves in their car without clearing snow away from exhaust pipe due build-up of CO gas in car.
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.