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Winter Storm Stella - Carbon Monoxide Danger

Forecasters are warning consumers in the Northeast region about the Winter Storm Stella predicted to hit Monday night to Tuesday. As families prepare for the potential power outages and damage that may happen from this winter storm, they need to remember to protect themselves from a major threat — carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless and invisible gas created by fuel-burning appliances. After ice and snow knock out electricity, some families use portable generators to power appliances or charcoal or gas grills to keep warm. When used improperly, these fuel-burning appliances pose a deadly risk of CO poisoning. 

In fact, studies from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that more than 90 percent of storm-related CO poisonings are caused by portable generators. 

Know the Facts:

  • When operating a generator in the basement, someone in a second-floor bedroom could suffer a coma, brain damage, seizures or death in just five hours from CO poisoning. (Consumer Product Safety Commission) 
  • The only safe way to detect CO in your home during a power outage is to install battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms. 
  • Installing working battery-operated CO alarms and smoke alarms as well as fire extinguishers could literally mean the difference between life and death. 

Kidde recommends the following safety tips:

  • Do not operate a generator in spaces attached to your home, such as porches, patios or garages. Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home and protected from direct exposure to rain.
  • Follow the manufacturers’ instructions when using generators. Use the appropriate sized and type power cords and never run them under rugs or carpets.  Overloaded or covered cords could overheat and cause fires.
  • Do not use a charcoal or gas grill inside your home or outside near a window, where CO fumes could seep into your home.
  • Ensure that storm debris such as snow or ice hasn’t blocked or sealed shut exhaust flues or ducts for appliances, such as water heaters, ranges and clothes dryers, or blocked your vehicle’s tailpipe, which could cause CO fumes to build up inside the vehicle.
  • During storm cleanup, place the pump and power unit of high-pressure washers outside and away from air intakes to the home. Run only the wash line inside.

Please contact our Customer Support Center at 1 (800) 880-6788 should you have any questions. 

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