As the temperature in the Yakima Valley is expected to drop, the Washington State Department of Health has some warnings about non-traditional ways to heat homes.

They say that it might be tempting to bring in the barbecue grill or gas generator, but that is extremely dangerous due carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a poisonous gas that can’t be seen or smelled and can kill a person in minutes. Carbon monoxide is produced whenever any fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood, or charcoal is burned. It can quickly build up to unsafe levels in enclosed or semi-enclosed areas.

Department of Health indoor air advisor Nancy Bernard particularly worries should there be a power outage since bringing in a grill might seem like the only choice.

“It doesn’t take too much or too long for carbon monoxide to make someone sick or to kill them – and the tragic truth is that it happens every winter.”

Here are some recommendations to avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide.

  • Never use a charcoal or gas grill in an enclosed space.
  • Do not burn charcoal in a fireplace. There will not be a strong enough draft to push the carbon monoxide out of the chimney.
  • Do not use a gas oven for heat.
  • Never run a car engine or generator in a garage and keep generators at least 20 feet from any air intake.