Caution! NJ Residents Getting Sick from Using Indoor Grills

NJ Poison ControlExperts at the NJ Poison Center are warning residents against the use of charcoal grills in the home. Over the weekend, two 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 two 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.

Carbon Monoxide Danger

Portable gas powered generators flew off of store 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 windows.

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 the NJ Poison Experts first 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.