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Staying safe in the storm
Winter weather is causing power outages. Here’s some important information to help you, your family, friends, and neighbors stay safe.
Carbon monoxide warnings
Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you. Carbon monoxide gas comes from burning fuels such as gasoline, propane, oil, kerosene, natural gas, coal or wood. You can’t see or smell it.
Prevent poisoning from carbon monoxide:
- Only use a generator outdoors and far from open windows and vents
- Never use a generator or portable propane heater indoors, in garages or carports
- Never cook or heat inside on a charcoal or gas grill.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen suddenly and without warning. Physical symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include splitting headache, nausea and vomiting, and lethargy and fatigue.
If you believe you could be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, get fresh air immediately. Call for medical help from a neighbor's home. The Fire Department will tell you when it is safe to reenter the home.
For a full list of carbon monoxide prevention tips and other safety and disaster information in English and other languages, visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/disaster.
Staying warm indoors safely
If you have a power outage, use safe ways to stay warm:
- Find places where you can go to get warm, such as the home of friends and family whose homes have power. Many cities have opened centers where people can go during the day to stay warm. Center locations can be found at http://www.kingcounty.gov/safety/prepare
- Wear several layers of light weight, warm clothing rather than one layer of heavy clothing. Wear hats, mittens, and blankets indoors.
- Close curtains and cover windows and doors with blankets. Everyone should try to stay together in one room, with the door closed, to keep in body heat.
- Warn others about carbon monoxide poisoning. Share the information with neighbors, friends, family and community groups.
- Check on family, friends, and neighbors, especially if they are elderly or if you think their power might be out.
- If you know someone who has lost electricity, invite them to your home to stay warm.
If power goes out where you live, keep food safe by keeping the doors closed on your refrigerators and freezers as much as possible. A full freezer can stay at freezing temperatures about two days; a half-full freezer about 1 day. Potentially hazardous foods, like meat and fish, should be discarded if thawed and warmer than 41 degrees F.