FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE October 27, 2005
CONTACT: Doc Kokol
**HURRICANE WILMA INFORMATION SHEET**
Health Officials Warn of Carbon Monoxide Dangers
--Generator safety precautions can help prevent
Tallahassee – As power restoration continues following Hurricane
Wilma, 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 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, death.
DOH recommends the following precautions to help prevent carbon
- 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 batteries.
- 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 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
http://www.cdc.gov/co/default.htm (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 www.doh.state.fl.us or
The Florida Emergency Information Line: 1-800-342-3557.
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