Coldwater, MI – As families make preparation for the holidays, our area is awaiting the arrival of the first predicted major snow event. The Branch Hillsdale St. Joseph Community Health Agency is urging residents preparing for the weather, to also prepare for potential power outages and be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. There are steps you and your family can take to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless gas formed when fuel is burned, that can build up to deadly levels within minutes in enclosed spaces. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, confusion, vomiting, chest pain, and shortness of breath. Families are encouraged to follow these carbon monoxide poisoning prevention tips:
- Never use generators, grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal burning devices inside of homes, basements, garages or near a window. These appliances give off carbon monoxide which can build up quickly in a home.
- Do not use a cooktop or oven to heat their home as these appliances are not designed for this purpose and may result in carbon monoxide poisonings.
- Ensure your home has a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector, which are available at local home improvement and retail stores.
If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, get fresh air immediately and call 911. If your power is out for an extended period of time, you should also:
- Discard any potentially hazardous food (meat, dairy, eggs, cut melons, and cooked vegetables) that has been above 41º F for four hours or more, reached a temperature of 45º F or higher for any length of time, or has an unusual color, odor, or texture.
- Wear layers of clothing to help keep in body heat.
- Avoid power lines, objects in contact with power lines, and the use of electric tools and appliances to prevent electrical shock.
For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention, visit https://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/safety-injury-prev/environmental-health/topics/carbonmonoxide. To learn more about safety precautions during a power outage, visit https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/winter/index.html.
BHSJCHA is committed to promoting wellness, preventing disease, providing healthcare, and protecting the environment. For additional information, contact your local health department office or visit www.bhsj.org and follow us on Instagram at BHSJ_Healthagency or Facebook at www.facebook.com/BHSJCHA.