Palmetto Poison Center warns of deadly threat during storms that - FOX Carolina 21

Palmetto Poison Center warns of deadly threat during storms that can't be seen, smelled

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Carbon monoxide (Source: Associated Press) Carbon monoxide (Source: Associated Press)

In addition to tropical storm winds, flood waters and possible tornadoes, there is another threat during hurricanes that can't be seen or smelled: carbon monoxide.

The Palmetto Poison Center said carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common poison-related death after a hurricane. In addition to being possibly fatal, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause permanent damage to the brain and nervous system. Symptoms include fatigue, sleepiness, dizziness, nausea, headache, irregular breathing, confusion and disorientation.

The poisonous gas is released when fuel is burned and often is seen during storms as the result of improper generator use.

The Sumter County Coroner's Office said a 54-year-old man was killed by carbon monoxide poisoning during impacts from Irma. The coroner said William McBride had a generator inside his home and was running it after losing power due to the storm.

The Palmetto Poison Center issued the follow tips to keep your family safe:

How to use a generator safely:

  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for portable generators.
  • NEVER use generators inside the home, garage, or near open windows or return vents to your home.
  • Generators, per guidelines by the Centers for Disease Control, should be placed 15 feet from the home during operation.
  • Use a backup battery operated carbon monoxide alarm within your home as a precaution.
  • Never siphon gasoline by mouth to fill a generator with fuel.
  • Keep fuel sources out of the reach of children.
  • Keep the Palmetto Poison Center number posted or programmed in your cell phone for emergencies or any questions: 1-800-222-1222

If The CO Alarm Goes Off:

  • Check to see if any member of the household is experiencing symptoms.
  • If they are, leave the affected area immediately and get fresh air. 
  • If no one is feeling symptoms, open windows/doors and turn off potential sources of CO.

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