Hurricane Sandy brought spike in carbon monoxide poisoning cases
Hurricane Sandy brought massive power outages in Connecticut and throughout the East Coast, and with that came increased reliance on generators, portable heaters and other ways of staying safe and warm. Unfortunately, for some people, these makeshift heating strategies caused their homes to fill with dangerous carbon monoxide gas.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely dangerous. Exposure to even moderate levels of carbon monoxide can cause severe headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and chest pain. Continued exposure can result in loss of consciousness, permanent brain injury and even death.
Carbon monoxide is particularly dangerous because it is both odorless and colorless. As such, many people do not realize that they are being poisoned until it is too late. If a leak happens at night, it is possible for victims to simply fall asleep and never wake up.
Because of these dangers, it is extremely important to exercise caution whenever you are using a device that creates carbon monoxide exhaust. Anything that utilizes combustion will produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct, including, but not limited to generators, space heaters, gasoline engines, charcoal or wood fires, lanterns, stoves and home heating systems.
Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning
There are two main ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. The first is to take appropriate safety measures whenever the risk of carbon monoxide exposure is present. Ovens, stoves, heating systems and other household appliances should be properly vented and should be inspected by trained professionals at regular intervals. If your house has a fireplace, make sure your chimney is clean and free of clogs. In addition, generators, barbeque grills, camp stoves and catalytic heaters should never be used indoors or in enclosed spaces like garages or sheds.
It is important to remember that even if you are using a generator or similar device outdoors, the carbon monoxide fumes can still seep into your house. For that reason, be careful not to place generators near vents or open windows.
The second important step is to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. If your home uses hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors, it is a good idea to install a few back-up battery-operated detectors in case the power goes out.
Pursuing carbon monoxide poisoning lawsuits
In many cases, carbon monoxide poisoning is nothing more than a very tragic accident. In others, though, it can be traced back to actionable negligence.
Depending on the circumstances of the case, carbon monoxide poisoning victims may be able to pursue personal injury lawsuits to seek financial compensation for their injuries. For example, victims may be able to take action against a manufacturer that negligently designed a product or failed to supply adequate warnings. Victims may also have causes of action against a repair company that installed an inadequate ventilation system or a homeowner who failed to heed product warnings.
If you or a loved one has been injured because of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is a good idea to have an experienced Connecticut personal injury lawyer review your case. The attorney will be able to evaluate the circumstances of the poisoning to help you understand your options for moving forward.