Beware Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning When Using Tarp Coverings

Main Content
Release date: 
December 16, 2004
Release Number: 
1549-098

MOBILE, Ala.—Within the first 30 days after Hurricane Ivan hit Alabama, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) responded with the distribution of more than 46,000 "self-help" tarps to counties hardest hit by the storm.

The plastic sheeting continues to be a great source of temporary roof repair for many still trying to recover from the storm. However, as temperatures drop and property owner’s turn on the heat, those same tarps can become deadly when covering the vents on your roof. That ventilation system prevents carbon monoxide from backing up inside your home where prolonged exposure to the odorless and tasteless fumes can cause death. The following is a list of initial symptoms that may occur:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue

As you begin to winterize your home, it would be a smart idea to install a carbon monoxide detector. It works just like a smoke detector. If you think a tarp or other debris is blocking an exhaust vent on your roof, have a professional check it out immediately.

On March 1, 2003, FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. FEMA's continuing mission within the new department is to lead the effort to prepare the nation for all hazards and effectively manage federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident. FEMA also initiates proactive mitigation activities, trains first responders, and manages the National Flood Insurance Program and the U.S. Fire Administration.

Last Updated: 
July 16, 2012 - 18:46
State/Tribal Government or Region: 
Related Disaster: 
Back to Top