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NJ Residents Getting Sick from Using Grills Indoors

Serious illness reported to the NJ Poison Experts from using charcoal grills indoors to cook with or heat homes.

Experts at the NJ Poison Center are warning residents against the use of charcoal grills in the home.  Over the weekend, two (2) people were admitted to a NJ hospital after using a charcoal grill in the house for the purpose of either cooking with it or using it to heat their home.  Both were suffering from significant carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.  One resident was barely responsive when emergency services arrived; both adults required the use of hyperbaric oxygen. 

According to Bruce Ruck, Pharm.D., Director of Drug Information and
Professional Education of the NJ Poison Center, these were not the only 2 NJ
residents that have required medical attention due to carbon monoxide poisoning
from using gas generators or charcoal grills indoors or too close to the home
since Hurricane Sandy touched down in the state last Monday.  Dr. Ruck also reminds residents not to use gas powered generators in the home, garage or near an open window.  The NJ Poison Experts have received several similar calls over the past week from around the state. 

Portable gas powered generators flew off of the shelves over the past few days.  Many new generator owners may not realize the potential dangers of the incorrect use of these units.  These units produce high concentrations of carbon monoxide and if not properly placed or installed can cause carbon monoxide buildup and tragedy. 

  • Do not bring portable gas powered generators into the home or garage!
  • Do not place portable gas powered generators outside near any open indows.

Portable heaters, stoves and lighting made for camping burn fuel and
produce carbon monoxide:

  • Do not use propane stoves or lights, kerosene camping stoves or charcoal
    grills into the house or garage
  • Never cook with charcoal indoors.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, take immediate action:

  • Exit the house/building immediately.  Do not waste time opening windows to “air” it out; this will delay your escape and cause you to breathe in more possibly dangerous fumes. 
  • Contact your local fire department or gas company.
  • Call the NJ Poison Experts, 800-222-1222, for immediate treatment advice. DO not waste time looking for information on the internet about carbon monoxide poisoning. Call us for fast, free and accurate information.

Safe Use/Storage of Gasoline

  • Do not siphon gas from one place to another:
    • Swallowing gas and getting it into your lungs can cause significant
      injury. 
  • Do not store extra cans or jugs of gas in the home and only use approved gas containers:
    • In addition to being a fire hazard, gas fumes can cause someone to develop nausea vomiting and headaches. 

Loss of Power to Refrigerator/Freezer

With the potential threat of power outages, it is important to be careful about food stored in refrigerators and freezers.

  • Fill freezers to capacity, but refrigerators need room for air to circulate
  • Refrigerators/freezers will sustain proper temperatures if not opened.  Plan opening of either for as few times and as short a period of time as possible. 

                                          Help is Just a Phone Call Away!

Our Center is Fully Staffed and Prepared to Answer Your Questions throughout the Cleanup of Hurricane Sandy and any other future storms heading our way.

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, or have questions about the safety of an item in your home, call the NJ Poison Experts at (1-800-222-1222).  They are always here to help with accidents or questions involving medicines, chemicals or household products, etc. Help is available in over 150 languages; 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, every day of the year.  Program the Poison Help line (800-222-1222) into your cell phone and post it near your home and office phones too.  There are no silly questions and trained medical staff are always available to answer a question, quell a fear, provide advice, or intervene to get emergency services on site and prepped to provide the needed protocol in the fastest response time. When in doubt, check it out - Prevention is truly the best possible medicine. 

                                           Real People. Real Answers.

Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/njpies) and Twitter @NJPoisonCenter) to be poison smart.  Be a poison prevention superhero - share poison prevention tips with your family (including children), friends, and coworkers.

Call to Action
NJPIES leaders urge medical professionals, parents, educators, caregivers and the
general public to call the toll-free poison center hot line, 800-222-1222, with any poison related question as well as for non-emergency questions regarding medications, household products, plants, environmental contaminants, or other poisons.  The hotline is accessible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  You may also chat or text in using our website, www.njpies.org

The NJ poison experts recommend putting the number in all family cell phones as well as programming it as a speed dial number on landlines (home and office).  In addition, prominently post the number near
all phones in the home and office.

Follow us on Facebook (www.facebook.com/njpies) and Twitter (@NJPoisonCenter) for breaking news, safety tips, trivia questions, etc.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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