How to stay warm, without power, safely

As temperatures fall, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning soars

FRANKFORT, Ky. (WTVQ) – State leaders and emergency responders are keeping a close eye on the impending winter storm, particularly a significant temperature drop. When temperatures fall, the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning soars.

Without power, many people turn to generators or other alternative heating sources to stay warm. The CDC says more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisonings.

Remember, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and breathing in a lot of it can cause a person to pass out or even die.

Governor Andy Beshear talked about heating safety during his weather briefing on Wednesday afternoon.

“If we go back to the last big ice storm, before the last one while I was governor, but under Governor Steve Beshear, almost everyone we lost was because they put the generator inside or not far enough from their homes,” said Gov. Beshear.

The CDC says the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. If you start to feel any of these symptoms, get to fresh air immediately.

To avoid risk, don’t run a vehicle inside a garage attached to your house, even if you leave the door open. Also, don’t burn anything in an unvented stove or fireplace. Don’t heat your house with a gas oven and don’t use a generator, grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement or garage.

Also, make sure generators are 20 feet or more from windows, doors and vents.

So how do you stay warm, safely? The CDC says to wear layers, get extra blankets and sleeping bags. Also, conserve heat by unnecessarily opening doors or windows. You should close off unneeded rooms and stuff towels or rags in cracks under doors. Curtains should be kept shut or covered at night.

The governor urged Kentuckians to follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance on preventing carbon monoxide exposure and safety tips to prepare for and cope with the loss of power. You can read more about staying safe during a winter storm, HERE.

Additional information from Governor Beshear’s news briefing can be found HERE.

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