Officials remind of carbon monoxide dangers in winter

Published: Mar. 5, 2015 at 2:02 AM CST|Updated: Apr. 2, 2015 at 1:02 AM CDT
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HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - Winter Weather is hovering over Northern Alabama and sleet and ice on their way. So many in the Valley are preparing their homes to wait out this weather.

One item flying off shelves, a backup generator, in case of a power outage.

While generators can heat your home if it loses power, they can also be deadly if used incorrectly.

"(Generators are) extremely, extremely dangerous," stressed HEMSI Director Don Webster. "Carbon monoxide will creep up on you."

The exhaust generators and other gas-powered devices give off is invisible, odorless, and can kill.

"Especially at nighttime; if you're sleeping, you'll be breathing it in and not even realize it," said David Glassman of Madison Rescue and Fire. "It just shuts down your breathing; your lungs. It gets in your system and just shuts your body down."

Emergency officials and those that sell gas-powered generators agree they need to be kept outside - not in a garage or close to a window.

They recommend generators be placed no closer than 10 feet away from your home.

"They have got to make sure they have proper ventilation," Webster said. "They have got to be in an outside source where they can have good, fresh air."

For more information, here is a primer on carbon monoxide from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Click here to read more about carbon monoxide poisoning, and for other winter weather preparedness tips.

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