Protect Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Contact: Dale George, MSP/EMHSD Public Information Officer, 517-284-3962

March 16, 2017

The Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) is urging residents to be aware of the dangers associated with carbon monoxide following recent deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning during last week’s widespread power outage.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless and tasteless gas produced when fossil fuels, such as coal, gasoline, natural gas and oil are burned. In only minutes, deadly fumes can develop in enclosed spaces.

The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may be headache, dizziness, confusion, fatigue and nausea. As more of this gas is inhaled, it can cause unconsciousness, brain damage and even death. If you do suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, move yourself, your family and pets to fresh air quickly and immediately call 9-1-1.

“Generators must be placed outside and away from windows or any other area where exhaust can vent back into a living area,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “They should never be placed inside a home or garage.”

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.
  • Follow operating and maintenance instructions for fuel-burning appliances and equipment.
  • Do not use a cooktop or oven to heat your home as these appliances are not designed for this purpose and may result in carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Do not let a vehicle run in a garage.
  • Do not sleep in a room with an un-vented gas or kerosene space heater.Ensure your home has a battery operated carbon monoxide detector, which can be purchased at local home improvement and retail stores.
  • Ensure your home has a battery operated carbon monoxide detector, which can be purchased at local home improvement and retail stores.
  • Get your furnace checked every year to make sure it isn’t leaking carbon monoxide.‚Äč

For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention, visit www.michigan.gov/carbonmonoxide or www.cdc.gov/co.

For more information about being prepared before, during and after an emergency or disaster, go to the MSP/EMHSD’s emergency preparedness website at www.michigan.gov/beprepared or Twitter at www.twitter.com/MichEMHS.