GREENWICH, Conn. Many residents have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms in the aftermath of Hurricane Irene in Greenwich, according to the town health department.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real danger when using gasoline-powered generators, said Caroline Baisley, director of health. Its very important that residents take precautions and properly use gasoline-powered generators and other combustion devices to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
Though power has been returned to most homes in Greenwich, residents still using portable generators are at a higher risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, department officials said Friday. It is critical that these devices be used outdoors, well away from windows, doors and air intake vents, said Baisley.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that can be fatal. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of flu, including headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and even loss of consciousness. If household members experience symptoms while at home but feel better when away from home, there may be a carbon monoxide problem.
Each home that uses a portable generator or that burns oil, natural gas, wood or coal should have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor near sleeping areas. If an alarm goes off, residents should leave the house immediately.
Tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning
Never use portable generators or other gasoline-powered equipment inside your home, garage, carport, basement or other enclosed spaces, even if the windows or doors are open.
Place gasoline-powered equipment outside away from doors, windows and air intake vents.
Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern or portable camping stove inside a home, tent or camper.
Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home near sleeping areas. An Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certified plug-in detector with battery-backup and a digital readout is recommended. Test alarms monthly and change the battery at least twice a year. Replace alarms every five years because the sensors degrade.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, fatigue, dizziness, nausea or vomiting and loss of consciousness.
If you or a family member experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave your house and seek medical help immediately. Call 911 from a cell phone or a neighbors home. Opening windows and doors or operating fans is not sufficient.
For more information contact the Greenwich Department of Health at 203-622-7836.
Is your home equipped with carbon monoxide detectors?
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