Power Out? Use Generators with Caution!

In the wake of disasters, people who lose electricity often turn to fuel-powered devices to cool or heat their homes or cook their food. While having a generator can be a great help while power is out, gas-powered generators need to be used safely in a well-ventilated outdoor setting at least 10 feet away from the house.  Not in the house. Not in the garage.

During and after storms, when you are likely to have your windows and doors tightly closed to keep the rain and wind out, build up of carbon monoxide fumes indoors is more likely. In disaster situations, carbon monoxide poisonings usually occur from improperly operated generators. Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning also can occur when gas stoves, lanterns, charcoal grills, gas ranges, gas dryers and hot water heaters, automobiles and heating systems are not used correctly.

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas. Several household sources, such as gasoline-powered tools and generators, produce carbon monoxide. Anything that burns, including your gas oven, can produce carbon monoxide. The fumes are extremely hazardous and can cause sudden illness or death within minutes.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are dizziness, drowsiness, severe headache, weakness, nausea, and confusion. If you experience any of these, get out of the house immediately and seek medical attention.

Keep yourself and your family safe by following these rules:

Good indoor air quality is critical for good health. Be sure to do everything you can to keep your indoor air safe and healthy during (and after) a storm!

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Dana Sundblad
Dana is a seasoned marketing and communications professional with over 20 years experience helping companies achieve awareness and financial goals in consumer, technology, and non-profit industries. Most recently she was Director of Communications at Castilleja School and began her career in brand marketing with Clorox. She received her MBA from Harvard University and BA from Wellesley College.
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