CT Department of Public Health issues warning about carbon monoxide poisoning ahead of Hurricane Henri


NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– As Hurricane Henri approaches the state, Connecticut’s Department of Public Health (DPH) issued a warning Saturday on carbon monoxide poisoning from the improper use of fuel-burning equipment during power outages.

Heavy wind is expected Sunday, which could lead to many power outages across the state. DPH wants to remind residents that portable generators and indoor use of grills can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

RELATED: Tracking Henri; Gov. Lamont declares a state of emergency

Carbon monoxide is an invisible odorless gas that can be fatal. Breathing in carbon monoxide can deprive the body of oxygen, and lead to illness, unconsciousness, and death, according to the Department of Public Health.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • Headache, fatigue, dizziness, confusion, nausea or vomiting, and loss of consciousness.
  • If several members of a household experience these symptoms when they are home but feel better when they are away from the home, there may be a carbon monoxide problem. 

“The tragic reality is that most of these carbon monoxide poisonings and deaths are completely preventable,” said Deidre S. Gifford, MD, MPH, senior advisor to the Governor for Health and Human Services, and acting commissioner of the Department of Public Health. “It is very important to learn how carbon monoxide gas can harm you and what you can do to keep your loved ones safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.”

What Should I Do If I Have Symptoms?

  • Get out of the house immediately and seek medical help if you or a family member or guest has unexplained/sudden onset of symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Call 911 from a cell phone or neighbor’s home and the Connecticut Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222.

How can I stay safe?

  • Never use portable generators, charcoal or gas grills, gas or propane powered pressure washers, saws or other fuel powered equipment inside  your home, garage, carport, basement or other enclosed spaces. Opening windows and doors, and operating fans is not enough to prevent buildup of carbon monoxide in a home
  • Install a carbon monoxide alarm on each floor of your home & outside of each bedroom.
  • Make sure the exhaust pipe on your standby generator is pointing away from the house.
  • Place portable generators at least 20 feet from the house.
  • Make sure gas dryer vents and automobile tail pipes are not plugged up with snow.
  • Have your heating systems, chimney flues, gas appliances, wood stoves, and generators checked every year, and cleaned and serviced as needed by qualified heating/appliance contractors.

For more information contact your local health department or go to www.ct.gov/dph/co.

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