LAFAYETTE PARISH, La. (KSLA) - A 50-year-old man has died as a result of the winter storm moving through Louisiana Monday, Feb. 15.
The Louisiana Department of Health (LDH) says the Lafayette Parish man was killed after slipping on some ice and hitting his head. The coroner’s office has confirmed this is the first storm-related death in connection with the February winter weather.
Power outages are anticipated as the extreme winter weather continues. LDH offers residents the following tips when using generators to heat their homes:
- Portable generators should never be used indoors. This includes use inside a garage, carport, basement, crawl space, or other enclosed or partially enclosed area, even those with ventilation.
- Gas-powered generators produce an exhaust of carbon monoxide (CO), which is odorless and colorless. CO inhalation can rapidly lead to full incapacitation or death. Opening windows or doors or using fans will not prevent the build-up of CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air IMMEDIATELY. Be sure to place the generator away from doors, windows and vents that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Use a carbon monoxide alarm in your home, either battery operated or plug-in with battery back-up. If CO gas from the generator enters your home and poses a health risk, the alarm will sound to warn you. Test the battery frequently and replace when needed.
- Do not use gas or electric ovens for heating. A gas oven may go out or burn inefficiently, leading to carbon monoxide poisoning, and electric ovens are not designed for space heating.
Take the following precautions to prevent electrocution:
- Keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions.
- Protect the generator from moisture by operating it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as a tarp held up on poles. Always ensure that your hands are dry before touching a generator.
- Turn off the generator and let cool before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite. Fuel for generators should be stored in an approved safety can.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor extension cord. The extension cord should be rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the sum of the connected appliance loads. Check that the entire cord is free of cuts or tears and that the cord has all three prongs, and especially a grounding pin.
- Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. It’s extremely dangerous and presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household protection devices.