At least 20 people poisoned by carbon monoxide during Texas power outages

Southwest

FORT WORTH, TX – FEBRUARY 16: Transmission towers and power lines lead to a substation after a snow storm on February 16, 2021 in Fort Worth, Texas. Winter storm Uri has brought historic cold weather and power outages to Texas as storms have swept across 26 states with a mix of freezing temperatures and precipitation. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (NewsNation Now) — A Houston area fire department reported 14 people, including at least 7 children, have been transported for carbon monoxide poisonings in the last 24 hours.

The CyFair Fire Department says that all were using grills to heat their homes.

A woman and child died from carbon monoxide in Southwest Houston Monday evening after attempting to use their car’s heating system in the garage when the house lost power.

Another family, including four children, were hospitalized after attempting to use a charcoal grill to stay warm during a power outage.

At least 13 children were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning at Cook Children’s Medical Center in Fort Worth, the hospital said in a social media post, which warned that families were “going to extreme measures to warm their homes” with propane or diesel-burning engines and generators as well as gas ovens and stovetops.

One parent died of the toxic fumes, pediatrician Phillip Scott told Fort Worth television station KTVT.

Fire departments in the Texas area have been issuing repeated warnings about the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisonings.

“Please remember to never run a generator or grill inside your home. These produce carbon monoxide, which is a deadly, colorless and odorless gas,” the Cy-Fair department said on Twitter yesterday afternoon.

As of Tuesday, at least 4 million Texans are without power. Texas Governor Greg Abbot announced he would be calling for an investigation into the state’s electric grid operator after days of power outages across the state.

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Check or change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detector, buy one soon.
  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris. Debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.
  • If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 or a health care professional right away.

Tips courtesy: CDC

Carbon monoxide poisoning is entirely preventable. You can protect yourself and your family by learning the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and how to prevent it.

CENTERS FOR DISEASE CONTROL AND PREVENTION

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