CROSSETT, Ark. (KTVE/KARD) — There have been at least 17 deaths in Texas due to the winter storm that we’re also experiencing here in the ArkLaMiss. Some of those are linked to carbon monoxide poisoning.
The impacts of the deadly winter storm in Texas have fire officials in Crossett on high alert. Multiple people have died in the neighboring state from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Texas officials say a car was used in a garage to generate heat caused by widespread power outages from a rare winter storm killing a woman and an 8-year-old girl from Houston. Two other people including another child were injured.
“Generally we just really encourage not to do that at all,” Assistant Chief Fire Marshall with Crossett Fire Department, Michael Willhite said.
Willhite says that’s because you can’t see, smell or taste the poisonous gas. 4 million people were left without power in Texas. Arkansas hasn’t seen extreme outages for a length of time like Texas but if residents feel like they need to get some heat from their vehicle, there is another option.
“Move it in a well ventilated area. Make sure you’re not sitting in the deep snow or anything like that because carbon monoxide is being produced anytime your vehicle is running so it can accumulate and pull it through the fresh air vents that’s put air inside the cabin,” Willhite said.
The same cautionary rules apply for using grills, portable generators and heaters. None of those items should be running inside any enclosed spaces.
Wilhite says he’s heard of many people who bring their generators inside the home because they don’t people to steal them but it’s not safe.
“Not inside your garage, not inside your utility room, no where inside your structure underneath your roof,” he said. “You want to keep it in a well ventilated area.”
If you do lose power, Willhite suggests layering your clothing and bundling up with plenty of blankets and if you’re fortunate enough to have power offer some help to someone else.
“If you have electricity and you know that doesn’t offer them a hot shower and a hot meal,” he said. “Check on the elderly and make sure everyone is safe.”
Willhite also says if your power goes out, make sure to turn off all power switches so that you don’t start a fire.
In addition, if you’re going to have a gas appliance in your house you should have a carbon monoxide in your house and operating