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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Warning issued about generator use during power outages

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning residents dealing with power outages of the deadly dangers from portable generators.
In a news release, CPSC warns consumers to never use a generator indoors — including garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds — even with ventilation. Exhaust fumes contain extremely high levels of carbon monoxide that can rapidly become deadly if inhaled.
Consumers should only use a portable generator outdoors in a dry area away from doors, windows and vents that can allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
Carbon monoxide from generators resulted in at least 79 deaths annually from 2005 through 2007, the CPSC said.
Additional life-saving safety tips from CPSC include:
‰Check to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms have batteries and are working.
‰If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. The carbon monoxide from generators can readily lead to incapacitation and death.
‰Do not connect the generator directly into your home’s electrical system through a receptacle outlet — this is an extremely dangerous practice that poses a fire hazard and an electrocution hazard to utility workers and neighbors served by the same transformer.
‰If using a generator, plug individual appliances into heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords and plug cords into the generator.
‰Check that the extension cords have a wire gauge adequate for the appliance loads and have all three prongs, including a grounding pin.
‰Keep charcoal grills outside. Never use them indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide poisoning.
For more information, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/info/co/.

Editor's note: All information in this post was contributed.

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