Offering frequent news and analysis from the majestic Evergreen State and beyond, The Cascadia Advocate is the Northwest Progressive Institute's unconventional perspective on world, national, and local politics.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Beware of carbon monoxide poisoning

An important message from the Governor and health officials:
Carbon monoxide poisoning may be to blame for as many as three deaths since last week’s windstorm. It is estimated that over 1,000 people in Washington have been seen at hospital emergency rooms with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning over the past four days.
Said the Governor:
"I urge all Washingtonians to stay safe and take care of themselves and their families as we dig out from the most recent storm. You can help by checking in with friends and neighbors to share this information and make sure they are okay."
More background information:
Many of these recent cases have resulted from the indoor use of charcoal briquettes for cooking or heating. When burned, charcoal releases carbon monoxide, which is odorless and colorless.

Generators are also dangerous if not used properly. They should never be used inside the home, in an attached garage, or near an open window or air intake.

The Washington Department of Health and local health departments are working together to get this information out, but they are having trouble reaching everyone.
Secretary of Health Mary Selecky says many people are still without power or phones so it is very difficult to reach them with this important message. Your help is needed!

Important Facts About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is found in combustion fumes produced by burning charcoal and wood, small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns, and gas ranges. It can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces and can quickly poison people and animals.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern or camping stove inside the home.
  • NEVER use generators indoors or in a garage, carport or basement. Keep generators outdoors and well away from windows, doors and air intakes.
  • Always open flues when fireplaces are in use.
  • Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home.
  • Do not use unvented gas or kerosene space heaters in enclosed spaces.
  • ]Install battery-powered CO detectors in your home.
How to Recognize Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning
  • Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death.
  • The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
  • People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.
  • If CO poisoning is suspected, immediately move the person to a place with fresh air and get medical attention right away.
If you know friends and family who are without power and can't get this message, please pass it on to them. The Department of Health has a printable fact sheet here. They're also available in several other languages: Chinese, Korean, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese.

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