FEMA Urges Caution When Using Portable Generators

Public Service Announcement

For Immediate Release.
Contact: Harrison County Emergency Management (859) 234-7180

FEMA Urges Caution When Using Portable Generators

WASHINGTON D.C. – The Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has joined with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) in issuing a warning to consumers confronted by the recent winter weather. When there’s a power outage, exercise caution when using portable generators.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible killer. You can’t see or smell it. A generator’s exhaust contains poisonous CO which can kill you in a matter of minutes.

Last year, at least 65 people died from generator-related CO poisoning. Many of the deaths occurred after winter storms knocked out power.

Follow these important generator safety tips:

Never use a portable generator inside a home, garage, shed or other partially enclosed space, even if doors and windows are open.
Place portable generators outside only, far away from the home. And keep the generator away from openings to the home, including doors, windows and vents.
Read the label on the generator and the owner’s manual, and follow the instructions.
Install CO alarms with battery backup in the home outside each sleeping area.
Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy. CO poisoning from exposure to generator exhaust can quickly lead to incapacitation and death.
Last year, CPSC mandated a new danger label on generators manufactured after May 14, 2007. The label states that, “Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES.”

FEMA and CPSC also caution people to never use charcoal for cooking in the home. Every year individuals lose their lives attempting to cook with charcoal when power is out. Charcoal fires should only be used outside of the home.

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