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New Orleans generator carbon monoxide poisoning sends 7 children, 5 adults to hospital

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, officials have emphasized generator safety as almost all of the New Orleans metro area is without power.

NEW ORLEANS — Ambulances took 12 people from a New Orleans home in Gert Town to a hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning Wednesday, a report from New Orleans first responders said.

Five of the patients were adults, and seven were children, according to reports from New Orleans Emergency Medical Services.

NOEMS dispatched six ambulances, two sprint cars, a rescue truck, and a highwater truck to help the patients.

"This was a portable generator-related carbon monoxide poisoning," NOEMS said on Twitter. "CO is a DEADLY colorless, odorless gas. Only operate generators outdoors."

St. Tammany Fire officials said nine people were taken to the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning overnight Monday.

In the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, officials have emphasized generator safety as almost all of the New Orleans metro area is without power and generators are in widespread use.

State officials are warning residents to follow generator safety tips:

  • Always follow manufacturer instructions when setting up a generator.
  • Never use a generator inside your home or garage.
  • Only use a generator outside in a well-ventilated area. 
  • Place your generator at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Double-check that the exhaust is pointed away from any doors or vents.

It’s important to take precautions when operating a generator because they produce carbon monoxide gas. Breathing in too much carbon monoxide could cause fainting or death. According to the CDC, more than 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room and more than 400 die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning each year. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often flu-like and include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion