When power outages occur after severe weather such as hurricanes or tornadoes, using alternative sources of power can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in your home and poison your family. CO is a colorless, odorless gas created by burning fuel when using portable generators, gas ranges, burning wood or by running your car.
While hundreds of people die in the U.S. each year from accidental CO poisoning, this tragedy can be prevented. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector in your home, install one as soon as possible and check it every six months. You should also follow these safety tips:
- Do not run your car inside a garage that is attached to your home, even if the garage door is open to the outside;
- Have your heating system, water heater and other gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician each year; and
- Never heat your house with a gas oven.
Since you can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, it is important to recognize the most common symptoms of CO poisoning. If you think you are experiencing CO poisoning, you should get fresh air and seek medical attention immediately!