Weather services predict that the New Orleans area is in for a rough ride this hurricane season. Dangers from these storms include high winds, heavy rain, tornadoes, flooding, and power outages. With the power outages comes the increased use of generators and, unfortunately, injury or death due to misuse.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports, “Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.” In 2021, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimated that 70 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with portable generators.
How To Use Your Generator Safely
Portable generators are a known safety hazard, and we at ABC Fire and Burglar Alarm want to encourage their safe use, especially during storm season. Generators produce carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can cause sickness and quickly incapacitate you so that you cannot get to safety or call for help. It can lead to death in as little as five minutes. If you use a portable generator this season, please observe safe practices to reduce your risks.
Have Your Security Company Install CO Detectors
Before running a generator, have your security company install the proper number of CO detectors in the appropriate places in your home. Consider professional alarm monitoring to provide even more protection. With professional alarm monitoring, if the system detects elevated levels of carbon monoxide, professional monitoring agents initiate local emergency services even if you can’t call them yourself.
Additionally, supplement your CO detectors with store-bought battery-operated CO detectors to be used when power is out for an extended amount of time, such as days or weeks, and for homes not using a whole home generator.
Never Run a Generator Indoors
Never run a generator indoors, even if you are trying to protect it from water damage. Homes are built to retain the air in their environment. The generator produces fumes. These fumes will build up very quickly, have no way to escape, and become dangerous within minutes.
Never Run a Generator in Partially Enclosed Spaces
Even if the space is partially enclosed, it is still dangerous to use a generator. Toxic gases can still be captured and pose a health and safety risk.
Place the Generator at a Safe Distance From the Home
Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors.
Never Run a Generator in the Rain
Running a generator when it is exposed to rain and water will damage the generator and pose a serious electrical risk. Instead, build a simple well-ventilated structure to protect it from the elements, or use tents made for this purpose found online and in home centers and hardware stores.
Let Gas Generators Cool Before Refueling
Before refueling a gas generator, turn it off and let it cool completely before refueling. Never refuel near open flame or cigarettes.
Stock Up On Gasoline
Store gas only in an ANSI-approved container in a cool, well-ventilated place. Never store gasoline near any potential sources of heat or fire, or inside the house.
Never Backfeed Electricity
Backfeeding is the practice of attempting to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This dangerous practice presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices, so you could start an electrical fire.
Know the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The effects of carbon monoxide worsen quickly so it is important to recognize them as soon as they occur. If you notice dizziness, blurred vision, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, or loss of consciousness, leave the premises immediately and call emergency services.
About ABC Fire & Burglar Alarm- Home Security Systems New Orleans
As a local New Orleans company with over 20 years of experience, ABC Fire and Burglar Alarm is dedicated to protecting families and businesses in our community. We proudly service the New Orleans metropolitan area, including New Orleans, Metairie, Kenner, Destrehan, Luling, Houma, Gretna, Belle Chasse, Chalmette, Slidell, Covington, Hammond, Laplace, and surrounding areas. Contact ABC Fire & Burglar Alarm at 504-889-9795