The following is from the City of Kirkland Emergency Management:
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous and odorless gas that cannot be seen or smelled and that can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. Carbon monoxide can build up so quickly that victims are overcome before they can get help.
During power outages, carbon monoxide poisonings can happen when people bring charcoal grills and barbecue units into the home for heat and cooking. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also occur when generators or propane heaters are used indoors or in areas without sufficient ventilation.
Immigrant and refugee communities are at particularly high risk because some immigrant groups come from warm climates where homes had open ventilation that allowed heating and cooking with open fires and charcoal. In 2006, King County experienced record numbers of carbon monoxide poisonings during power outages, particularly among immigrant residents.
Carbon monoxide warnings
Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you. Carbon monoxide gas comes from burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, oil, kerosene, natural gas, coal or wood. You can’t see or smell it.
Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide:
- Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents
- Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports
- Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.
If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor's home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to reenter the home.
Staying warm indoors safely
If you have a power outage, use safe ways to stay warm:
- Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors.
- Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.
- Warn others about carbon monoxide poisoning. Share the information with neighbors, friends, family and community groups.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they are elderly or if you think their power might be out.
- If you know someone who has lost electricity, invite them to your home to stay warm.
What you can do to help spread the word?
Notify the other about the hazards of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- For downloadable flyers in multiple languages, visit:http://www.kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/preparedness/disaster/carbon-monoxide.aspx
- Post information on your website and social media. Suggested posts:
Stay safe during a power outage. Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide: Only use generators outdoors and far from open windows and vents. Never use generators or portable propane heaters indoors, in garages or carports. Never cook or heat inside on charcoal or gas grills. http://kingcounty.gov/healthservices/health/preparedness/disaster/carbon-monoxide.aspx
Winter weather is causing power outages. Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they are elderly or if you think their power might be out. Invite them to stay warm at your home if they don’t have electricity.
- Encourage everyone to check on neighbors, help one another, and share warnings about carbon monoxide