FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 11, 2005 12:30 p.m. (CST)
Contact: Lindsay Hodges (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE DENNIS INFORMATION SHEET**
Health Officials Warn of Carbon Monoxide
--Initial reports of poisonings into DOH--
Tallahassee – The Florida Department of Health (DOH) has
received initial reports of Carbon Monoxide poisonings in
Hurricane Dennis impacted areas. Epidemiologists have begun
investigating these reports, while officials continue to
urge the public to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) exposure by
taking precautions with generators, gas-powered appliances
and charcoal or gas grills.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas,
and is highly poisonous. Depending on the level of exposure,
CO may cause fatigue, weakness, chest pains for those with
heart disease, shortness of breath upon exertion, nausea,
vomiting, headaches, confusion, lack of coordination,
impaired vision, loss of consciousness, and in severe cases,
DOH recommends the following precautions to help prevent
carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Do not burn charcoal or gas
grills inside a house, garage, vehicle, tent or fireplace.
- NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes,
garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or
partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening
doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO build-up
in the home.
- ALWAYS locate the unit outdoors on a dry surface, away
from doors, windows, vents, and air conditioning equipment
that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Follow the instructions that come with your generator.
Locate the unit outdoors and away from doors, windows,
vents, and air conditioning equipment that could allow CO to
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms
with battery back-up in your home, according to the
manufacturer’s installation instructions. The CO alarms
should be certified to the requirements of the latest safety
standards for CO alarms (UL 2034, IAS 6-96, or CSA 6.19.01).
- Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead
- Remember that you cannot see or smell CO and portable
generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly.
- If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a
generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT DELAY.
- If you have a poisoning emergency, call your nearest
Florida Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222. If the
victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call 911
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
recently announced the availability of 30- and 15-second
public service announcements in English and Spanish. The CDC
is encouraging radio stations to download the public service
announcements free from
(scroll down to "Public Service Announcements for Carbon
Monoxide"). Other broadcast and print media can also use the
information to alert viewers and readers.
For further information, please contact your local county
health department or visit
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557.
Public Information Emergency Support Function:
View Frequently Asked Questions Carbon Monoxide.