Disaster Surveillance

Mortality Hospitalization Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment Emergency Department Visits Poison Center National Fire Protection Association Health Behaviors

Pyramid representing CO Framework


Disaster-related carbon monoxide exposure often occurs after a power outage, when homeowners use portable generators or charcoal grills either indoors or too close to living areas. In addition, using fuel-powered tools such as pressure washers or warming up vehicles in attached garages both pose a risk of CO poisoning. Identifying and describing who is at greatest risk for CO poisoning after a disaster is important for targeting public health interventions, such as risk messaging, designed to prevent future poisonings. The figure above illustrates the surveillance components of CDC’s disaster-related carbon monoxide poisoning surveillance framework. Below are the respective data sources identified for each component, the resulting estimates, and the dissemination of the findings.

Disaster-related carbon monoxide exposure research that uses multiple data sources:



National Vital Statistics System: From 1999 through 2004 there were 439 unintentional, non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning deaths annually in the U.S.

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Nationwide Inpatient Sample: In 2007, there were 2,302 hospitalizations for confirmed cases of unintentional, non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning in the U.S.

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Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment

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Emergency Department Visits

Nationwide Emergency Department Sample: In 2007 there were 21,304 emergency department visits for confirmed cases of unintentional, non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning in the U.S.

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Poison Centers

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National Fire Protection Association

National Fire Protection Association: During 2006-2010, municipal fire departments in the U.S. responded to an annual average of 72,000 non-fire related carbon monoxide incidents.  Top of Page

Health Behaviors

Presence of carbon monoxide alarm at home

Attitude regarding generator placement

Community Assessment for Public Health Emergency Response

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