Safety During Power Outage Season

November 20, 2018

It is power outage season once again in Vermont.  When power outages occur during natural disasters and other emergencies, the use of alternative sources of fuel or electricity for heating or cooking can cause carbon monoxide (CO) to build up in a home, garage, or camper and to poison the people and animals inside. CO is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled. Although generators can save lives, they are also deadly as one generator produces as much CO as hundreds of cars.  CO levels can rise very quickly and poisoning can occur within a few minutes of use.  Be alert for any of the symptoms and signs of CO overexposure: headache, nausea, weakness, dizziness, visual disturbances, changes in personality, and loss of consciousness.

 

To keep yourself safe, all relief workers and emergency responders should:

 · Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline engine-driven tool (such as a concrete saw, water pump, or compressor) indoors, or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

· Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.

 · Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.

 

References:

https://www.cpsc.gov/safety-education/safety-guides/carbon-monoxide/carbonmonoxide-fact-sheet

https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/carbonmonoxide.html

 

 

https://www.cpwr.com/sites/default/files/publications/CARBON%20MONOXIDE_post.pdf