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Winter Storm Carbon Monoxide Warning

January 2, 2014

After the winter storm ends on Friday, the Cambridge Public Health Department is urging residents to clear snow from their car tailpipes before turning on the ignition. 

If the tailpipe of your car or truck is blocked by snow or ice, carbon monoxide (CO) can build up in the vehicle and create a deadly situation.

NEVER run your motor vehicle until it is completely cleared of snow and ice, including the undercarriage.

  • Be sure to clear at least 1 foot of snow all around and under your motor vehicle, including the tailpipe, before starting it.
  • Keep your car windows open to allow for fresh air when warming up your car.

Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are feeling drowsy, confusion, headaches, fainting, and dizziness. People often do not realize that they are exposed until they are seriously ill.

If you experience any symptoms, get to fresh air and call 911 immediately.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas. It prevents the body from using oxygen, which can cause damage to the heart, brain, and other organs – even death. Because it is invisible and has no smell, people often do not realize that they are breathing the gas.

For more information:

Source:  Boston Public Health Commission


Suzy Feinberg, MPH
Public Information Officer

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Cambridge Public Health Department
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Cambridge, MA 02139
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