The initial reports on Hurricane Laura informed residents that it would be a very significant storm. As it approached landfall, residents throughout Louisiana and Texas were told to evacuate in order to ensure their safety. Those who decided to remain behind faced severe challenges that made it difficult to carry on with their daily routines.
One of the biggest issues for many communities was the loss of power. People in places hit hard by Laura had entire electrical grids knocked out, so they needed an alternate source of energy to help power essential household appliances. In Louisiana alone, over 300,000 residences were without power in the immediate aftermath of the storm. Many turned to generators to provide the needed electricity.
Unfortunately, the widespread use of generators contributed heavily to Laura’s death toll. The engines in the generators can emit fumes while they are being used. If the generator is in the basement of a house, a garage or other enclosed area, high levels of carbon monoxide can accumulate inside the residence. These fumes have led to several deaths for those who survived the storm. In Louisiana alone, 8 of the deaths connected to the hurricane were believed to be due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.
The CDC has recently released an alert for medical professionals in the region who may encounter individuals suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning. Because the symptoms can be tough to identify, they discuss some of the questions that should be asked of people who seek treatment for a mysterious illness, including if generators are currently being used to help supply power to a house. Increased awareness of the issue can hopefully help prevent more needless deaths from happening.
Because carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, many people do not know they are being subjected to the gas until it is too late. Those who live in apartments or other rental properties may not have carbon monoxide detectors installed by landlords or property owners, and laws requiring their installation vary by state. If you believe that you have family members who have suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning, we invite you to reach out to the experienced attorneys at Wyatt Law Firm by calling 210-340-5550 to determine if you may have a valid injury claim.