Sometimes, I just wished more people could read our warnings about the risk of carbon monoxide exposure.  What I have come to learn about carbon monoxide and the news, if there is a big storm that knocks out power, someone will die because of the way they compensate for the absence of electricity.

After torrential rain and winds knocked out electricity in many parts of New Jersey this weekend, a Carteret, N.J. man was killed by carbon monoxide fumes from a generator he was using because he was without power.

The 49-year-old man, whose name wasn’t released, was discovered dead Saturday sitting on a couch in the basement of a Pine Street home. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Residents at that address had been using a portable generator because they had lost power due to the Northeaster storm. But one of the residents called police shortly after noon Saturday to report that some of his family members were sick and that a family friend was unconscious in the basement.

When firefighters and police arrived at the home, a married couple with two children were outside the home. They were taken to Raritan Bay Medical Center for treatment.

In the basement, the responders smelled the odor of gasoline and found the generator. It had been turned off. All the windows in the basement were closed.

Most people realize that winter is the carbon monoxide season, with fault furnaces and space heaters the perceived culprit. Yet what most people don’t understand how dangerous it can be just to get stranded in the winter in a car.

Three men in Maryland died in their cars over the weekend of carbon monoxide poisoning and two families were hospitalized in separate incidents.

Authorities in Prince George’s County found a 24-year-old man from Glen Burnie and a 29-year-old from Bladensburg dead in a parked vehicle in Bladensburg. They fell asleep in the running car, and it appears that they were overcome by carbon monoxide because their exhaust pipe had been blocked by snow.

In a similar incident, a 55-year-old man was found dead in his running car in Greenbelt.

And two families were stricken by carbon monoxide poisoning when they used gasoline-run generator to heat their homes after a power outage.

Six people, five adults and a child, were taken from their Landover Hills home for hyperbaric treatment.

And in Oxon Hill five children had to get hyperbaric treatment after inhaling dangerous carbon monoxide fumes. Four adults declined treatment.

For more information about the risks of carbon monoxide exposure, go to

Another culprit in the carbon monoxide poisoning equation is portable generators, that are so often used in RV’s. The details aren’t clear yet, but don’t be surprised to learn that some external generation of electricity, vented directly into the RV was the problem here.

A San Francisco couple died of carbon monoxide poisoning while in a trailer park in Texas, according to the Dallas News.

Matthew Rawley, 43, and his 34-year-old wife Nicole were found dead in their trailer at the Gator Run RV park in Rusk County, southeast of Longview, Texas, last weekend.

They died of carbon monoxide poisoning, the Southwestern Institute of Forensic Science confirmed.

The married couple had been slated to check out of the RV park the morning they were found dead.

For more information about the risks of carbon monoxide exposure, go to

As we enter Hurricane Season 2009 and the emphasis shifts to disaster planning, including warnings about the dangers of generators, who would of thought we would be placing a warning on video gaming?

The dangers of using generators without proper ventilation is covered extensively throughout the hurricane season as massive power failures become more likely. Generators used without proper ventilation can kill in a matter of minutes. All generators produced after May 14, 2007 are required to carry just such a warning.

During Hurricane Ike, two million people were left without power resulting in 12 separate carbon monoxide poisoning incidents. We would logically assume that generators were powered up to provide emergency lighting, refrigeration and other necessities.

However, according to an article in the June issue of Pediatrics by Caroline Fife, M.D., of the University of Texas Science Center in Houston and her colleagues, five of these incidents were the result of powering up generators in order to play video games. 21 children and 17 adults were poisoned, and one 3-year-old died.

“This is the first study to suggest that generators are commonly used immediately after a large-scale power outage to power entertainment electronics for children,” they said.

It is recommended that generators be placed at least 50 feet from a house and should not be operated in the house or garage in any circumstances. This is a good time to weatherize your generator so it can be operated safely outdoors, install a catalytic converter and carbon monoxide monitors. If you are concerned about theft or noise, the CPSC is considering these problems and hopefully solutions will soon be in the works.

Please use common sense when operating a generator and put the safety and health of children first. The video games can wait.