Alert for carbon monoxide poisoning when electricity is down

People staying indoors without power should be on the alert for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Experts at the Society for Disaster Shelter and Refuge Life say that people trying to keep themselves warm should avoid burning charcoal or briquettes indoors because of the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Power generators also emit a large amount of carbon monoxide. Concentrations can become extremely dangerous within a short period of time if generators are used indoors.

The gas is difficult to notice because it is transparent and has no smell. If people inhale it, the health effects start with mild headaches and nausea and can lead to a loss of consciousness or even death.

Caution is also advised against carbon monoxide poisoning when evacuating or staying in a car.

The experts warn people to make sure that the car's exhaust is not blocked by snow or other objects.

They also say people should avoid staying in their car in places that have no ventilation, such as a closed garage.