An Anne Arundel County fire official offered tips to residents to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning while using a generator after an incident involving a Jessup homeowner Sunday morning.
Firefighters responded to a call for help at the Holiday Mobile Estates in Jessup at approximately 7:38 a.m. Sunday.
"The community is without power and they were using a [portable] generator," Lt. Keith Hamilton said. "We responded and we had one adult suffering the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning."
The person, who lives in the 7800 block of Clark Road, was transported to the hyperbaric chamber at the University of Maryland's Hospital in Baltimore with serious, life-threatening injures.
Hamilton explained a hyperbaric chamber is an "encapsulated tub almost like a little submarine that you can put an individual in. They were developed by the Navy to treat divers suffering from the bends. We use that now as therapy for helping individuals with too much CO in their system."
A family of five in Upper Marlboro was also transported to the hospital Sunday morning for carbon monoxide poisoning, according to WTOP. The family's generator was reportedly outside, but it was placed near a fireplace vent.
Hamilton warned that people without power who are using portable generators should be cautious about where it is placed on their property.
"When a generator is in operation, it should be 10 to 15 feet from your house," Hamilton said. "You don’t want to have any windows open on that side of that house because that generator is producing a high volume of chemicals."
One of those chemicals is CO, which is odorless and can be deadly to humans.
One major recommendation Hamilton made was to never store a running generator in your garage. He also advised homeowners to purchase carbon monoxide detectors, which can run for days on a battery backup system.
Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning include massive headaches, nausea, increased pulse rate and irritability.