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With no power or heat, residents turn to stoves, generators, but OEM warns of dangers

PMG PHOTO: BRIAN MONIHAN - PGE crews work on power lines along Highway 43 Monday afternoon. With no power for the fourth day in a row and no estimate for when it may return, residents throughout the Portland metro region, including West Linn, are turning to alternate heating sources like camp stoves, space heaters and generators to keep warm.

The increased use of these tools led the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to warn of the increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning that comes with using these devices.

"Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas produced when anything is burned," a press release from OEM stated. "Gas and oil furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces as well as wood burning and gas stoves are common sources in the home."

According to OEM, the only way to know if carbon monoxide is present in a home is using a carbon monoxide detector. OEM warns that carbon monoxide can cause headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, confusion, loss of consciousness and death.

"If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, seek fresh air and consult a health care professional right away," OEM stated.

The agency advised residents to use caution with kerosene and gas space heaters and to use clean and inspected ventilated space heaters when possible.

"Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home," the press release stated.

The agency also advised checking exterior vents to make sure they are clear of ice, snow and other debris. OEM warns charcoal grills and camp stoves should not be used indoors.

Lastly, OEM cautioned to never run a portable generator or any gas-powered engine in a basement, garage or other enclosed area, even if doors and windows are open.

More information on carbon monoxide safety can be found here.

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