Protecting yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning

November 1, 2011 2:15:00 PM PDT
When power is lost in storms homeowners often turn to generators, alternate sources for heat, and grills for cooking.

Safety experts say all must be used carefully.

First, they say, move it away from your home.

"If the wind was coming out of this direction the fumes, these things produce a lot of exhaust, it would go into the garage into the upper living unit," Gordon Wren , Rockland Co. Emergency Management, said.

To prevent carbon monoxide exposure, don't use generators, charcoal or camp stoves in your house, basement or garage.

Don't burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn't vented.

Don't heat your house with a gas oven.

"First thing is your safety. If you don't think about your safety, things can go wrong really fast," Mike Colletti said.

Colletti, an engine mechanic at precision equipment in Nanuet and a volunteer fire fighter, showed me some of the safety features on the generators

"The most important thing is you don't want to overload them. They do have safety breakers on them, but sometimes they fail and they can short circuit and the power can shift and it can catch on fire," he explained.

A family was pulled from a house in Spring Valley on Monday where officials say they were using kerosene heaters and a grill inside.

Six other area victims were also treated in the hyperbaric treatment center at Westchester Medical Center.

Medical experts say nationwide there are 3000 fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning each year that could be prevented.

"Carbon monoxide is very dangerous. And those who are concerned with their heart and that are pregnant, their outcomes are worse," Dr. Kausik Kar said.