Siren wailing WOMAN: 911. What’s your emergency? WOMAN #2: Unit 21. Third and Lincoln. Each year in the United States, approximately 20,000 people go to the emergency room for carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is
a colorless, odorless gas. It’s extremely poisonous, and it can kill you in minutes if you’re exposed to it. Nearly 500 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning. NARRATOR: Fire & Rescue Captain Antonio Burden is a first responder and has been a victim of a CO leak in his home. It’s a strange feeling, once you start, you know, feeling dizzy. Then you get a tremendous headache. Man! You also start experiencing nausea and that nausea can lead to other symptoms. DR. GARBE:
In a really severe case
of carbon monoxide poisoning, someone could lose consciousness or die within minutes. NARRATOR: Hurricanes or severe storms can trigger power outages that last for days. Some people fire up a generator for power or a gas stove to heat their home, but fail to realize the danger. It’s one thing to be cold. It’s another thing to be seriously ill and need critical care. Never use your oven to heat your home. It could be a source of carbon monoxide for you. It’s dangerous. Don’t do it. DR. YIP: Make sure that their appliances and heating devices are properly vented and maintained by a professional. Dangers from poorly maintained heating systems are really going to be the number-one cause of carbon monoxide poisonings in the United States. DR. YIP: CDC suggests that generators be placed outdoors. DR. GARBE: We recommend at least 25 feet away from your house. The best is as far away from your home as possible, so if your power cord is 50 feet, I would put my generator 50 feet away from my house if I was using it. NARRATOR: There are actions to protect your family. DR. GARBE: CDC recommends that all homes have carbon monoxide detectors. I think it’s a great investment. It’s particularly important that you have carbon monoxide detectors near where people sleep at night. The worst location for a carbon monoxide detector is in the box without a battery. Most importantly, when you go to purchase a CO detector, make sure that it is specifically for carbon monoxide. DR. GARBE: The other important thing is that it’s battery-operated. If it is an A.C.-operated detector, it’s important that it also have a battery backup. Running your car in the garage, even with the garage door open, is not safe. DR. GARBE: If you have to get your car warmed up in the wintertime, make sure it’s parked in the driveway well away from the house. Carbon monoxide makes people sick. It kills people, and it’s completely preventable.