ALLEN, Texas — During the 2021 winter storm in Texas, at least 11 people died and more than 1,400 people received care for carbon monoxide poisoning in the state. With the wintry weather around the corner this week, first responders are advising residents to take safety precautions in order to prevent CO poisoning.
"Even just a little bit can be dangerous," said Fire Chief Jonathan Boyd with the Allen Fire Department.
Carbon monoxide is known as a silent killer because it is odorless and can't be seen. Boyd recommends residents to check their carbon monoxide alarms every six months.
As the weather gets below freezing, Boyd said his team is prepared for potential calls about carbon monoxide. He urges people to call 911 if they feel symptoms.
"You may have a headache. You may feel lethargic. You may feel tired and sometimes it could mask itself as flu-like symptoms. If you're unsure of that, the best thing you could do is call 911 and call somebody who can check out your home to make sure you don't have a carbon monoxide leak," said Chief Boyd.
Some advice for people who are trying to stay warm:
- Do not bring grills or camp stoves inside the house. Any outdoor appliances should remain outside.
- Do not bring generators inside the house. To safely use a generator, it run at least 20 feet away from any openings to the house. Check that it has proper maintenance.
- Do not keep warm inside a running car, not even if the garage is open.
- Do not use your gas stove or oven to keep the house warm.
- Do not use gas fireplaces that are not properly ventilated or maintained.
- Check carbon monoxide and smoke alarms.