Portable Generators for Outdoor Use Only

Now that the winter weather is upon us we need to be extra careful. The snow and ice storms have recently hit the United States causing power outages for some consumers. According to a press release today, December 11th, from the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a warning to all consumers dealing with the winter storms was issued.

The warning states that when there is a power outage you should use caution when using the portable generators. These portable generators were only meant to be used outdoors. If you use them inside your home, the generator’s exhaust, containing poisonous CO, (carbon monoxide), could kill you in a matter of minutes.

According to Wikipedia, “Carbon monoxide is life-threatening to humans and other forms of air-breathing life, as inhaling even relatively small amounts of it can lead to hypoxic injury, neurological damage, and possibly death. A concentration of as little as 0.04% (400 parts per million) carbon monoxide in the air can be fatal. The gas is especially dangerous because it is not easily detected by human senses.”

You cannot see carbon monoxide, smell it or taste it. That is why it is called the invisible killer. Last year, there were at least 65 people who died from Carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator. Many of the reported deaths were a direct result of a winter storm knocking out their power. The portable generators were used to restore their power.

If winter storms knock out your power, and you need to restore it with a portable generator, then there are safety precautions to consider according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission:

Never use a portable generator inside a home, garage, shed or other partially enclosed space, even if doors and windows are open.

Place portable generators outside only, far away from the home. And keep the generator away from openings to the home, including doors, windows and vents.

Read the label on the generator and the owner’s manual, and follow the instructions.

Install CO alarms with battery backup in the home outside each sleeping area.

Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy. CO poisoning from exposure to generator exhaust can quickly lead to incapacitation and death.

Last year, the Consumer Product Safety Commission mandated a new danger label on all generators manufactured after May 14, 2007. The label on these generators now state: “Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES.”

Source:
CPSC Warns Winter Storm Victims: Use Portable Generators Outdoors Only
http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml08/08125.html

Carbon monoxide poisoning
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_monoxide_poisoning

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