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For Release:  January 28, 2010
Contact:  Leslea Bennett-Webb
Office of Communications

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning During Winter Storms

In preparation for this week’s winter weather, many Oklahomans may have purchased portable generators to assist as alternative power sources if there is a power outage. These generators produce carbon monoxide, an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas that can kill you in minutes. One generator can produce as much carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars.

To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, the Oklahoma State Department of Health warns that generators should never be used indoors or in garages, basements, or sheds. They should be placed well away – at least 25 feet – from windows, doors, vents or any other opening. Some persons may also be tempted to use charcoal grills, camp stoves or other gasoline/charcoal burning devices indoors during a power outage. These alternative fuel sources can also produce significant amounts of carbon monoxide and should not be used in enclosed or partially enclosed areas.

As a precaution, install battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors and if the alarm sounds, do not ignore the alarm. It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard. Immediately move outside to fresh air and call your local emergency services, fire department or 9-1-1.Seek immediate medical attention if experiencing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, which include headaches, fatigue, dizziness, shortness of breath, and nausea.

Additional information can be found at these Web sites:  http://www.cdc.gov/co/ and http://www.health.ok.gov/documents/Carbon_Monoxide.pdf.


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