All you need to know about generator safety

All you need to know about generator safety

Orlando, Florida. Every year, at least 430 people in the United States die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. To add to this startling statistic, 50,000 people across the country visit the emergency room for the same reason.

It’s a problem and every year when hurricane season begins, our team strives to find ways to keep you and your loved ones safe from all sides.

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“Unfortunately, carbon monoxide, you can’t smell it,” said Laurella Avery, chief of the Orange County Rescue Department.

Without a carbon monoxide detector, the invisible gas can fill a room unnoticed until symptoms begin to appear. Red blood cells take in carbon monoxide faster than they do oxygen. Inhaling an odorless gas that replaces oxygen in the blood, causing symptoms.

“It will cause dizziness and weakness, and people will just feel sick, so at this point they need to get outside immediately to get some fresh air,” Avery said.

Carbon monoxide detector. (Pixabay)

Those who sleep or drink alcohol often die before symptoms appear at all, often resulting in death.

When Florida was hit by hurricanes Charlie, Frances, Evan, and Jane in 2004, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported six deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning. Other reports showed that 167 people were treated for non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning.

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All of these cases were the result of people using portable gas powered generators incorrectly by placing the generators inside the garage or house and even having the generator outside but very close to the dwelling.

The post-interview stats were amazing.

The CDC interviewed 167 people who had lived and lived to report carbon monoxide poisoning during the 2004 Atlantic hurricane season. All cases were the result of not using the generator properly resulting in exposure. The results of the findings help determine why owners chose placement at the time of exposure in an effort to improve safety in the future. (WKMG)

Post-interview analysis showed that 69% of those who survived disclosed their fears of theft often affecting where the generator was placed. Of those interviews, 74% stated that they did not have generators before the 2004 hurricanes and 86% did not have a carbon monoxide detector in the home at that time. Only 67% reported reading or hearing carbon monoxide education before poisoning occurred.

To stay safe while using the generator in the aftermath of a hurricane, Avery said OCFR has a new acronym: OAD It stands for Outside, Away and Dry.

“What that means is that we want people to make sure they keep their generators away from their homes, at least 10 feet from any windows, doors, and vents, that can prevent carbon monoxide from entering their homes,” Avery said.

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We asked what people can do to ease their minds regarding generator theft. Avery said that buying a good lock and making sure the generator is secure can help deter theft. The more difficult the item is to be stolen, the more likely the thieves will leave the generator behind because it takes a lot of time and effort.

Keeping the generator dry is also an essential safety measure. Never place the generator or power cords in water as they must be properly grounded to prevent the risk of electrocution.

Storing the generator is just as important as reading the manual before using it.

“The most important thing is not storing the fuel indoors,” Avery said. The fuel should be kept separate from the inside of the house and made sure that it is not near the water heater or any other electronic devices, in order to prevent a fire. Avery also recommended hiring a licensed electrician to make sure the alternator is connected to the home correctly.

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This is especially important if there are crews trying to restore power after the storm is over. “Once the power companies go in and try to get the power back into the communities, they can feed back in, if done incorrectly, they can feed back through the power lines, you know, actually infect some of our power workers,” Avery said.

Following your generator user manual is one of the best things anyone can do. It certainly takes time, but it can prevent personal injury and damage to your home.

Electricity crews work on power lines in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida, Thursday, Sept. 2, 2021, in Golden Meadow, Los Angeles (AP Photo/David J. Phillip) (Copyright 2021 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Copyright 2022 by WKMG ClickOrlando – All rights reserved.

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