ATLANTA, Mar 11, 2004 (United Press International via COMTEX) -- U.S. health officials Thursday said having carbon monoxide alarms in homes can help keep people safe during power outages.
The recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention came after researchers studied a December 2002 power outage in Mecklenburg County, N.C. During the nine-day outage, which was caused by an ice storm, 79 percent of households lost power, 124 people were poisoned by carbon monoxide and one woman died.
The CDC researchers said severe carbon monoxide poisoning and death could have been prevented if people had inexpensive, battery-operated detectors operating during times when alternative heating and electricity sources were in use -- including charcoal or propane grills and electrical generators.
The CDC found that during the Mecklenburg outage, in households without detectors, one in five people exposed to toxic levels of carbon monoxide was severely poisoned. In houses with functioning alarms, all but one of 31 people exposed to carbon monoxide escaped with no symptoms or just mild symptoms of poisoning.
Copyright 2004 by United Press International.