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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Use Your Generator Safely After a Storm

7/22/2021 (Permalink)

A portable generator Survive the storm and its aftermath by following our tips on safe use of generators.

Every storm season ends in tragedy for some folks. If it’s not the natural disaster itself—hurricane, tornado, blizzard, flood or other big storm—it’s the cleanup or aftermath that causes unnecessary injuries and deaths.

As an example, Hurricane Laura slammed into the state of Louisiana in August 2020. The category 4 winds reached 150 miles per hour, the storm surge reached 15 feet, and hundreds of thousands of people lost power. Although they survived the storm and flooding, many Louisianans died in the aftermath from carbon monoxide poisoning from incorrectly used generators.

The Deadly Toll of Unsafe Generators

According to The New York Times, “The electrical outages have been deadly, as several people who turned to generators to power refrigerators, lights and air conditioners have been overcome with fumes.

“At least seven people have been killed by carbon monoxide from generators, including four members of a family found dead in a home in Lake Charles. A fifth member of that family was taken to a hospital. Their generator was in a garage and the deadly gas was able to seep into the house through a garage door that was left cracked open, [Lake Charles mayor Nic] Hunter said.

“Another man in Calcasieu Parish, which includes Lake Charles, died of carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator, as did an 84-year-old man and an 80-year-old woman in the same home in Allen Parish, to the northeast, said health officials, who warned people never to place generators in homes or in closed garages.”

Guidelines for Safe Generator Use

Colorless, odorless and tasteless carbon monoxide gas (CO) is produced by portable generators. In just five minutes, carbon monoxide can build up inside a garage or home to levels high enough to sicken or even kill, according to the National Institutes of Health.

Prevent a post-storm tragedy by following these safe generator use guidelines.

  • Don’t operate your generator in an enclosed area, such as a garage, or inside a house. Deadly carbon monoxide can build up even in a partially enclosed space.
  • Set up your generator at least 20 feet from your house and aim the engine exhaust away from windows and doors.
  • Allow for 3 to 4 feet of clear space on all sides and above your generator for ventilation.
  • Set up a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector when you are running your generator to let you know if CO is building up.
  • If it’s raining, set up a tent or canopy to keep your generator dry while allowing for ventilation.
  • Watch for symptoms of CO poisoning: dizziness, fatigue, headaches and nausea. If anyone is affected, everyone should quickly go outside to fresh air and call 911. Remain outside until your house has been declared free from carbon monoxide.
  • If you’re purchasing a new generator, choose one that has a sensor that will automatically detect dangerous levels of CO and shut itself off.

When you have suffered damage from a storm at your home or business, call SERVPRO of Glastonbury/Wethersfield today at 860.633.8791

Help Is Here

The team at SERVPRO of Glastonbury/Wethersfield has specialized training and experience in water damage restoration services, biohazard cleanup, fire and smoke damage restoration services and natural disaster prevention and cleanup. Call SERVPRO of Glastonbury/Wethersfield (860.633.8791) any time.

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