WASHINGTON, June 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — As the first tropical storm system of the 2022 Atlantic hurricane season threatens South Floridathe U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers to prepare for power outages and take action now to protect their families from the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, fire and electric shock after the passage of the storm.
Loss of Power—Use a Generator Safely
Consumers should be especially careful when storms knock out power. Gas-powered portable generators can create an increased risk of CO poisoning which can kill within minutes. CO is called the invisible killer because it is colorless and odorless. CO poisoning from portable generators can occur so quickly that those exposed may pass out before recognizing symptoms of nausea, dizziness or weakness.
The CPSC estimates that about 80 people die each year from CO poisoning caused by portable generators in United States. The latest CPSC report shows that African Americans are at higher risk, accounting for 22% of generator-related CO deaths from 2010 to 2020, nearly double their estimated 13% share of the US population.
Consumers planning to use a portable generator in the event of a power outage should follow these tips:
- Never operate a portable generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawl space, shed or on the porch. Opening doors or windows will not provide enough ventilation to prevent the buildup of deadly levels of CO.
- Operate portable generators outdoors only, at least 20 feet from the house, and direct the generator exhaust away from the house and any other building that someone might enter.
- Check that portable generators have been properly maintained and read and follow labels, instructions and warnings on the generator and in the owner’s manual.
- Ask retailers for portable generators that automatically shut off when high levels of CO are present. Some models with CO shutdown also have reduced emissions. These models may or may not be advertised as certified to the latest safety standards for portable generators – PGMA G300-2018 and UL 2201.
Check CO and smoke detectors
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or battery-backup CO alarms on each level and outside separate sleeping areas of the home.
- Make sure smoke alarms are installed on every floor and in every bedroom of the house.
- Test CO and smoke detectors monthly to make sure they are working properly and replace batteries, if necessary. Never ignore an alarm when it rings. Exit immediately. Then call 911.
Dangers with Charcoal and Candles
- Never use charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide. Do not cook on a charcoal grill in a garage, even with the door open.
- Be careful when burning candles. Use flashlights instead. If you use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when leaving the room and before sleeping.
Dangers with wet appliances:
- Look for signs that your devices have gotten wet. Do not touch wet devices that are still plugged into an electrical source.
- Before using your appliances, ask a professional or your gas or electric company to assess their safety. Replace all gas control valves, electrical wiring, circuit breakers and fuses that have been under water.
Gas leak hazards:
- If you smell or hear a gas leak, leave your home immediately and contact the local gas authorities from outside the house. Do not use any electronic devices, such as lights or telephones, before leaving.
Remember that it only takes one storm to wreak havoc causing massive destruction and loss of life. Stay informed, prepare and protect yourself!
PSA – Hurricane Safety Tips (English)
PSA – Hurricane Safety Tips (Spanish)
Poster – Carbon monoxide (CO) the invisible killer
Carbon Monoxide Safety Center
Link to broadcast a quality video for the media:
CPSC spokespersons are available for interviews. E-mail [email protected] or call 240-204-4410 to arrange an interview.
About US CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is responsible for protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries and property damage caused by consumer product incidents cost more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC’s work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits anyone from selling products that are the subject of a Commission-ordered recall or a voluntary recall initiated in consultation with the CPSC.
For vital information:
Build number: 22-150
SOURCE US Consumer Product Safety Commission