Health Experts urging everyone to take precautions - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Health Experts urging everyone to take precautions

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BIRMINGHAM - AL -

The Alabama Department of Public Health is urging everyone to be careful during this cold weather blast.

Health experts say during times of power outages following winter storms, many people use items that can produce carbon monoxide. Exposures to carbon monoxide cause flu-like symptoms and can lead to coma and death. If you are using a generator, be sure to follow these safety advice:

·        Have a carbon monoxide monitor with fresh batteries in it and place it in the house high on a wall. Carbon monoxide is lighter than air and rises towards the ceiling.
·        Place generators as far away from the home as possible. People have had carbon monoxide poisoning from generators as far away as 30 feet away from the house.
·        Never hook up the generator to the home's normal wiring. Improper wiring of a home generator can create backfeed in the electrical wires to the house and could injure or kill utility workers repairing the electrical lines.

Many risks are associated with the use of fuel-burning appliances in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas. These include camping stoves, portable propane gas stove and charcoal grills.  The fumes are deadly.

Here are some other tips:
·        Do not use a generator or appliances if they are wet.
·        Do not store gasoline indoors where fumes could ignite.
·        Use individual heavy-duty outdoor-rated cords to plug in other appliances.
·        Do not turn on a stove for heat; it is not safe.
·        Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
·        Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
·        Keep heat sources at least three feet away from furniture and draperies.

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