The arctic blast of winter weather that is gripping much of the U.S. this week is also bringing with it various hazards that people have to contend with to keep warm and safe.
These dangers can include carbon monoxide poisoning, hypothermia and frozen pipes that can burst and make homes unlivable.
Public safety officials and experts say there are multiple ways people can prepare themselves to avoid these winter weather hazards and keep themselves safe.
Staying safe inside your home
Officials say that during a winter storm, people should stay indoors. But home heating systems running for hours can increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning as the deadly fumes can be produced by furnaces, stoves and heaters, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Carbon monoxide can also be created when people use portable generators or run cars in their garages to stay warm or charge their phones.
Dr. Alex Harding, assistant professor of emergency medicine at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, said because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, people won’t necessarily be aware of it.
“The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be really insidious. They can sneak up on patients and can range from just developing a headache or maybe a little bit of nausea to all the way to losing consciousness and seizures,” he said.
Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña said residents should not operate generators inside their homes or even in their garages.
“We all don’t want you to sacrifice safety for warmth,” Peña said.