Police and fire officials say four people in the Cheticamp area were taken to hospital for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Henry Poirier, chief of the Cheticamp Volunteer Fire Department, said first responders got a call Sunday night about a carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator in Plateau, southeast of Cheticamp.

The two homes involved were both using generators overnight.

Then Monday morning they got another call about two people in Petit Etang, northeast of Cheticamp.

Poirier suspects it too was a case of carbon monoxide poisoning, though he can't confirm it.  

He said there was a generator at the home that had been running, but it was off or had run out of fuel by the time the responders arrived.    

He said the two people had already been brought outside, and they were responsive, but barely.    

He said the two were taken to hospital by ambulance, and he believes one was transferred to Sydney.

More than 4,500 Nova Scotia Power customers in the Cape Breton Highlands were without power Monday evening — more than 1,700 of which have been in the dark since Sunday afternoon. Power was restored around 9 p.m. Monday.

RCMP Sgt. Al LeBlanc urges people to be mindful of the sources of carbon monoxide poisoning, and be aware of its symptoms. 

Most carbon monoxide poisoning is a result of exposure to engine exhaust, often from running a snow blower, generator, car, or propane appliance without proper ventilation.  

Know the symptoms

Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can be confused with flu symptoms, food poisoning or other illnesses.  

Symptoms of exposure may include nausea and headaches. More severe poisoning may cause vomiting, dizziness, slowed thinking, drowsiness, loss of consciousness, collapse, or cardiac arrest. 

When more than one person experiences these symptoms at the same time, carbon monoxide poisoning could be the cause. 
People are encouraged to install carbon monoxide alarms in their homes. If an alarm sounds or the presence of carbon monoxide is suspected, move everyone in the house to a fresh air location outdoors or near an open window or door, and call emergency services. 

Anyone experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning should seek medical attention at their nearest emergency department.