LEONARDTOWN, Md. – The St. Mary’s County Department of Emergency Services encourages citizens to prepare for power outages, and to take steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

When power outages occur during severe weather, the use of alternative power sources can cause carbon monoxide to build up in a home, garage, or camper, putting the people and animals inside at risk. Every year in the U.S., more than 400 people die and approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

You can take simple steps to help protect yourself and your household:

  • Never use a generator inside an enclosed space, such as inside your home, basement, or garage as carbon monoxide fumes can build up
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage
  • Change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector every six months – If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up detector, buy one soon

If you have a generator for backup power, part of your preparation should include:

  • Becoming familiar with the safety regulations that relate to your generator
  • Make sure you have enough fuel to last at least 24 hours
  • Start your generator at least once a month to be sure it starts easily
  • Check the oil levels and change as needed
  • When not in use, drain the fuel from the generator, but make sure you have enough on hand as mentioned above
  • Store all your extension cords in one place

For more information, please visit: prepare.stmarysmd.com

See the SMECO Power Outage Map here: https://thebaynet.com/weather/

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