Their warning follows a carbon monoxide exposure (CO) case in a Fairmount Heights home that lost power after the storm.
Prince George's County Fire/EMS spokesman Mark Brady said someone in a home in the 1300 block of Doewood Lane called 911 at about 10:00 am Thursday. Firefighters determined the couple, both in their mid 50's were suffering from CO poisoning. They had been using a gasoline generator inside their home to power their electrical appliances. The female was found unconscious and the male was disoriented. They were hospitalized and are improving Thursday night.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission warns against using portable generators in enclosed spaces because they can release CO. CO is called the "invisible killer" because it is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas.
Snow-related outages are also believed to be linked to four house fires in the county overnight.
In two of the fires, an unattended candle and an unattended fireplace were to blame. Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the other two, but said they were likely preventable. The department provides these tips for residents during power outages.
- Use a battery-powered flashlight for emergency lighting.
-Never use candles for illumination.
-Turn off electrical equipment you were using when the power went out.
-Avoid opening the refrigerator and freezer.
-Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.
- Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
-Ensure you have fresh batteries in your radio, and be prepared to stay informed if a power outage occurs.
-Before a power outage occurs, listen to local radio and television for updated information
Residents are also encourage to seek shelter in a warming center. The Department of Parks and Recreation for Prince George's County has opened the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Complex, located at 8001 Sheriff Road in Landover, MD. Residents in need and without power may go there and seek shelter. The county will be providing bottled water.
Published at 6:54 PM EDT on Jan 27, 2011