Jessica Mathews /

Livingston County residents and others impacted by this week’s winter storm are reminded to stay safe if using generators and other equipment following a spike in ER visits.

Gas-powered generators, kerosene or propane heaters, and other alternative heating and power sources can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when not used properly. The invisible, tasteless, odorless gas is formed when fuel is burned and can quickly build up to deadly levels within minutes in enclosed spaces.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services reports there was a spike of 27 emergency department visits for carbon monoxide poisoning throughout the state on Thursday and Friday. Most of the visits were in Washtenaw and Wayne counties, with Allegan, Hillsdale, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Oakland and Van Buren Counties reporting carbon monoxide visits as well.

Thousands remain without power and utility crews have been working around the clock to restore service, with lineworkers from multiple states called in to assist.

Consumers Energy said damage included over 8,000 downed wires - a number that has been exceeded very rarely in the past and forced crews to make an above-normal number of individual repairs.

Both Consumers and DTE Energy estimate that the majority of affected customers should have power back on by Sunday or the end of the day Monday.

Additional information on carbon monoxide poisoning and poisoning prevention is available in the provided link.