Emergency Management

Power outage safety considerations
Posted By Kristin Tinsley on Dec 14th, 2012 at 4:06 PM

The winter storm season increases the likelihood of experiencing power outages. With the potential for power outages, it is important to be aware of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is emitted from burning almost anything inside your house. It is colorless, odorless gas which can go undetected until it is too late.

To avoid potential carbon monoxide poisoning, follow these tips:
• DO NOT burn charcoal inside homes, tents, campers, vans, trucks, garages, or mobile homes.
• DO NOT burn charcoal in the fireplace in your home.
• DO NOT use any gasoline-powered equipment indoors.
• DO NOT use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
• DO NOT idle a car in a garage, even when the garage door is open.
• DO NOT sleep in a room while using an unvented kerosene heater.

Always DO these things:
• Make sure that chimneys and flues are in good condition and are not blocked.
• Have oil and gas appliances, fireplaces, and wood stoves checked every year by a trained professional.
• Every home should have a battery operated carbon monoxide alarm, but this should not replace the other prevention steps.

What should you do if you think someone has been poisoned by carbon monoxide?
• Move the person to a place with fresh air immediately.
• Call 911 if the person has lost consciousness (fainted or passed out).
• If the person did not lose consciousness take the person to an emergency room and tell them that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide fact sheets can be found online on the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department’s Website in English, Spanish, Russian, Korean, and Vietnamese.  Visit Pierce County Department of Emergency Management’s Website for information on personal preparedness: www.piercecountywa.org/prepare.

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