FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 20, 2005
CONTACT: Doc Kokol (850) 245-4111
**HURRICANE KATRINA INFORMATION SHEET **
Health Officials Warn of Carbon Monoxide Dangers
--Generator safety precautions can help prevent poisoning--
Tallahassee –Following the impacts of Hurricane Rita,
the Florida Department of Health (DOH) is urging the
public to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) exposure by taking
precautions with gas-powered appliances and charcoal or
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, death.
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 come indoors.
- 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
- If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while
using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY. DO NOT
- 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 immediately.
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:
Public Information Emergency Support Function: