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MAINE EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT AGENCY
As Power Outages Continue, Beware of Carbon Monoxide
April 1, 2011
Thousands of Mainers are out of power today from the winter storm that is pounding the state. The MaineCDC and MEMA remind everyone to use generators and alternate heaters safely. Improper operation or placement of such devices can lead to Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning.
CO is an odorless gas emitted when burning most fuels. Improper operation or placement of alternative heating or power sources can result in poisoning when CO gas builds-up in enclosed spaces.
Warning signs of CO poisoning are flu-like symptoms without fever (such as headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, drowsiness, and confusion). CO poisoning can also result in coma and death.
To Avoid CO Poisoning During Power Outages:
If You Suspect CO Poisoning
If you or anyone in the home suspect you are being poisoned by carbon monoxide:
A State study of the CO poisoning epidemic, in the aftermath of the January 1998 ice storm power outages, found that improper placement of a gasoline generator, such as in a basement or garage, could increase the risk of poisoning by 20 to 300-fold. Using a kerosene heater in a room without any doors to other rooms opened, or failing to crack a window, also put people at increased risk for CO poisoning.
The following publications are from the MaineCDC:
(These publications are in Adobe .pdf format)
Last update: 07/20/10
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