"Every year, more than 400 people die in the U. S. from accidental CO poisoning." This is a quote from the US Center for Disease Control. Many of these deaths happen after an emergency from people who are trying to keep warm or cook.
There are a few things you need to know to safely get heat for warmth, cooking, or running a generator. All of these activities can make carbon dioxide. This is an invisible gas that you can not smell. It can get you without any warning that you are in danger.
Here are some important tips from the CDC to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips
1) Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
2) Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
3) Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine outside an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
4) 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, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented.
5) Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
6) Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
7) If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
8) If CO poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away.
These tips come from the CDC. They also provide the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If a person is asleep or drinking, none of these symptoms may exist before the person is dead. Don't drink or go to sleep if there is the slightest chance of carbon monoxide poisoning, in other words.
Here are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
People have gotten carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes even with the heat source in their doorway or window.
Forget about running a camp stove or heater inside.
I will tell you tomorrow about ways to keep warm safely, if you must shelter in place during a cold weather emergency. Operating a generator inside your home, or an unvented heater are not at all safe.