Gasoline-Powered Generators - Not For Indoor Use
As the cold weather chills us to the bone, keep this warning from the Consumer Product Safety Commission in mind...
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is warning residents in areas hit by winter storms that gasoline-powered generators should not be used indoors because of the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Deaths from CO poisoning have occurred after ice storms in the past.
CPSC Chairman Ann Brown said, "If people use gasoline-powered generators indoors, they could die from CO poisoning. Opening doors and windows or operating fans does not guarantee safety." CO poisoning from the use of fuel-burning appliances kills more than 200 people each year and sends about 10,000 to hospital emergency rooms for treatment. Others die from CO produced while burning charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent.
CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, and include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea and irregular breathing. Exposure to high levels of CO can cause death.
"Gasoline-powered generators should be left outdoors at all times to prevent CO poisoning," Brown said. "And every home should have a CO alarm that meets the requirements of the most recent Underwriters Laboratories or International Approval Services standard."
In addition, the safety agency is warning about
fire and CO hazards from space heaters and kitchen ranges used to heat the home.
Keep space heaters away from flammable materials and turn them off when you
leave the room. Do not use a space heater while you sleep, and never use
a kitchen range to heat a room. These appliances can ignite nearby combustibles
or produce carbon monoxide, either of which could be fatal.
Last Editorial Review: 11/18/2003