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Portable generators killed 755 since 1999
We know from experience as victims try to recover from disasters, they will take unnecessary risks with candles, cooking and generators, a U.S. official warns.
“These risks often result in additional and tragic life safety consequences,” Ernie Mitchell, the U.S. Fire Administrator, said in a statement.
Mitchell said there have been at least 755 carbon monoxide deaths involving generators from 1999 when generators became widely available to consumers. The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of using a generator inside a home’s living space, in the basement or in the garage, Mitchell said.
Carbon monoxide — an odorless and colorless gas produced when operating a stove, furnace or internal combustion engine in an enclosed space — can kill humans and animals when encountered in higher concentrations.
Mitchell advised those without power to:
– Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and vents.
– Read the owner’s manual and follow the instructions. Any electrical cables should be suitable for outdoor use.
– Install carbon monoxide alarms immediately outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning. Check batteries.
– Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors where they can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
– Use flashlights instead of candles. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Extinguish candles when leaving the room.
Copyright 2012 by United Press International