AAA Texas is reminding residents who might seek shelter and warmth in their vehicles during power outages to be mindful of Carbon Monoxide.
It is never safe to start or leave a vehicle running in an enclosed space, such as a garage due to vehicle exhaust containing poisonous carbon monoxide gas and can cause severe injury and even death if inhaled.
AAA Texas says more than 400 Americans die each year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning.
“Many people who have lost power to their homes may try to use vehicles to charge mobile devices as well,” said AAA Texas/New Mexico Spokesperson Daniel Armbruster. “If using a vehicle’s power to charge cell phones or digital devices, make sure the vehicle is not in an enclosed area and be sure to unplug all cables and cords before turning the vehicle’s power off to preserve battery power for your next engine startup.”
During Winter Blast AAA Texas recommends drivers to:
- Never start or operate a vehicle in an enclosed area, such as a garage.
- Make sure the exhaust pipe isn’t clogged with snow, ice, or mud. A blocked exhaust could cause deadly carbon monoxide gas to leak into the passenger compartment when the engine is running.
- Never leave your vehicle unattended with the engine running.
- Have a mechanic check the exhaust system of your car or truck every year. A small leak in the exhaust system can lead to a build-up of carbon monoxide inside the car.
- Keep your gas tank at least half full to avoid gas line freeze-up during winter months.
- Unplug phone chargers and USB cables for digital devices as soon as you turn off your engine.
- When driving avoid using your car’s heater longer than you need to; heaters put extra strain on your battery.
AAA Texas recommends homeowners and renters to:
- Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.
- Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.
- Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, vehicle or camper.
- If conditions are too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.
- If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, consult a health care professional right away or call 911.