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The New Jersey Poison Information & Education System
Serving New Jersey Since 1983


Designated regional poison center for New Jersey by New Jersey Department of Health and Senior Services and the American Association of Poison Control Centers




Date:                April 2007
Contact:           Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D.                                                                                973-972-9280


Storms Cause an Increased Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Heavy rainfall and flooding in New Jersey has left many people with significant damage to their homes and businesses.  Many New Jersey residents may be without electricity.  Portable generators and other gasoline powered equipment are often used during the cleanup process.  Theses devices produce carbon monoxide (CO), a clear colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. These devices MUST be vented outdoors or this deadly gas will build up inside.
Since many homes have lost heat, it is important to add that burning charcoal, kerosene or logs, without proper venting of the exhaust, in a house can also generate dangerous levels of CO.  
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often nonspecific (headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting etc.) and may be attributed to other causes. In severe poisonings a person may lose consciousness and death may occur.
According to Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., of the NJ Poison Control Center, when storms of this magnitude occur, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning is common.  DO NOT BECOME A STATISTIC.    
CO Poisoning is easily avoided by following simple guidelines: never use gasoline powered equipment or tools inside the house or in enclosed spaces, place gasoline powered devices being used outside the building away from doors, windows or air intake devices, and make sure carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are in place and working properly.  
If there is any concern of CO poisoning you and your family members must get out of the house and contact your local fire department immediately.  Do not waste time opening windows or trying to “air” out the house/building; which will delay your escape from possibly dangerous fumes. 

Remember Help is Just a Phone Call Away!
Poison Emergency?  Call 1-800-222-1222
Questions about Poisons? Call 1-800-222-1222
Questions about Poison Prevention? Call 1-800-222-1222
Hearing Impaired May Call 1-973-926-8008


The Poison Control Center is funded through a contract with the State of New Jersey, Federal and other grants, and from private donations.  Contact (973) 972-9280, ext. 125 for more information about how you can support this valuable program.


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Township of West Windsor • 271 Clarksville Road • PO Box 38 • West Windsor, NJ 08550 • 609-799-2400