As North Carolinians prepare for Hurricane Dorian, officials with the North Carolina Division of Public Health caution you not to use gasoline-powered generators, outdoor grills and camp stoves in enclosed spaces.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced whenever fuel is burned. In an enclosed space, such as a home, garage, car or camper, carbon monoxide can build up to deadly levels quickly. Even low levels of carbon monoxide can cause dizziness, fatigue, nausea, headaches, confusion or fainting. If you are experiencing these symptoms, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.
High levels of carbon monoxide can be deadly within minutes. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal to anyone, especially children, pregnant women, older adults and/or those with chronic illness. People who are sleeping or intoxicated can die from carbon monoxide poisoning before ever becoming aware of their symptoms.
In previous hurricanes in North Carolina, people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by generators running inside. Anyone testing or using a generator or other fuel burning device during Hurricane Dorian should take proper safety precautions.
To stay safe:
- Do not use gasoline-powered tools or engines in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Use them outdoors, at least 20 feet from doors, windows and air vents.
- Do not use charcoal grills or propane stoves indoors, even in a fireplace.
- Never use the stove or other gas appliances to heat your home.
- Do not idle your car, truck or other vehicle in the garage, even if the garage door to the outside is open. Fumes can build up quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
- Keep rooms well ventilated.
- Read and follow all instructions that accompany fuel-burning devices. Use the proper fuel and make sure there is enough air for ventilation and fuel burning.
- Install and maintain a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.
If you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning including dizziness, nausea, headaches, confusion or fainting, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical care.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning prevention visit http://epi.publichealth.nc.gov/oee/a_z/co.html.
DHHS has also created a webpage for Hurricane Dorian at http://www.ncdhhs.gov/dorian. The page will be updated regularly as new information is available.