AAA lists CO poisoning as risk during storm

Published 4:11 pm Friday, September 14, 2018

AAA Carolinas

Along with damaging winds and rain, hurricanes also bring the threat of poisonings with them.

According to the Carolinas Poison Center, CO (Carbon Monoxide) poisoning is a concern during massive  storms. CO can form when people burn fuels like gasoline, kerosene, wood, oil natural gas and methane without proper ventilation. The Poison Center recommends:

•  Only use generators outside – keep them 20 feet away from your home, doors and windows. Never bring them inside.
• Never use a gas stove, camp stove or charcoal grill inside.
• Keep your carbon monoxide detector up to date – on every level of your home as well as a battery backup.

Symptoms of CO poisoning can feel like the flu. If you are having headaches, dizziness, nausea, weakness or confusion, get to fresh air and call the center (1-800-222-1222).

Wild animals, including snakes, will be displaced by Hurricane Florence and some may seek shelter in odd places – such as your home. Be aware.

•   Watch where you step when flooding has occurred, even in areas that are not under water.
•  Carry a flashlight at night and at dusk to aid your sight.
•   Never attempt to relocate or kill these animals because they might bite you in the process.

The NC Poison Control Center is available by phone (1-800-222-1222) or chat ( if you think a poisoning has occurred.  Phone lines can sometimes be busy in a storm.  If internet connection is available, chatting with poison control may be a more reliable form of communication.

AAA is urging motorists to move their vehicles to higher ground to avoid flood damage. Approximately 57 percent of Carolinians have auto insurance policies that don’t cover flood damage.

“We want to be as prepared as possible for the potential threat of Hurricane Florence,” said AAA Carolinas President Dave Parsons. “Carolinians should first secure their family and homes, but then need to relocate their vehicles to safer grounds. Many times vehicles can be saved and spared from major damage with a little preparation. Find higher ground. Move it or lose it.”

Following the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, estimates from the Houston metro area are that more than a million vehicles were destroyed by flood damage.

AAA Carolinas recommends the following tips to help protect vehicles during a storm:

  • Locate higher ground near your home and park your car there.
  • Find a deck or garage that offers cover to protect your car from wind damage.
  • Avoid leaving your car under power lines or trees.
  • Make sure there are proper documentation and insurance papers stored in your car (preferably in a zip lock bag or waterproof location).
  • Use flood covers. There are many waterproof flood covers you can purchase from auto part stores that have shown good results in protecting cars from water damage.