Even though we have had very mild weather in Alabama it’s very likely that we are in store for some real cold days in the coming weeks. Severe winter weather and a stormy economy could combine to make one of the season’s common killers, carbon monoxide poisoning, even worse this year. Public health and safety officials say that coast-to-coast snowstorms and power outages, paired with spiking rates of utility shutoffs spurred by record unemployment, are likely to increase the accidental exposures that typically send more than 20,000 people to the emergency room and kill nearly 500 each year. Dr. Eric J. Lavonas, associate director of the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center in Denver, had this to say: “I’m pretty sure we’re going to see a big bump in carbon monoxide poisonings this winter. This economy is the perfect storm.”
Deprived of power, many people will use gas-powered generators. Lots of folks will even bring barbecue grills indoors and use them as a heat source. In each such use, they forget or ignore the deadly consequences of the colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that can lead to illness, brain damage — and death. Jim Burns, past president and spokesman for the National Association of State Fire Marshals observed: “We see it during power outages and we see it during bad economic times. Unfortunately, people in desperate times take all means to stay warm.”
The combination of a poor economy and bad weather is a predisposing factor for carbon monoxide poisoning. The problem is that many people don’t realize how dangerous carbon monoxide can be. Carbon monoxide harms people by blocking oxygen from getting into the blood. The gas molecules bind more quickly than oxygen to hemoglobin, a protein in red blood cells, effectively smothering vital organs such as the heart and brain. Nearly three-quarters of carbon monoxide poisonings occur in homes and more than 40% occur in winter, according to the CDC. On average, the nation posts 110 carbon monoxide poisonings a day in December, 96 a day in January and 76 each day in February.
Contact us today for a free legal consultation with an experienced attorney.
Fields marked *may be required for submission.
If you would like to subscribe to the Jere Beasley Report digital edition, simply visit our Subscriptions page and provide the necessary information or call us at 800-898-2034.
Attorney Advertising - Prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome.