CPSC Warns About Lingering Dangers After Hurricane Irene
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are warning residents in hurricane-impacted areas about the deadly dangers that can remain in the wake of Hurricane Irene.
Consumers need to be especially careful during a loss of electrical power, as the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire increases at that time.
In order to power lights, to keep food cold or to cook, consumers often use gas-powered generators. CPSC and USFA warn consumers never to use portable generators indoors or in garages, basements or sheds. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) that can quickly incapacitate and kill.
"Don't create your own disaster in the aftermath of a storm," said CPSC chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Never run a generator in or right next to a home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. CO is odorless and colorless and it can kill you and your family in minutes."
From 1999-2010, nearly 600 generator-related CO deaths have been reported to CPSC. CPSC is aware of an annual average of 81 deaths due to carbon monoxide poisoning from generators in recent years. The majority of the deaths occurred as a result of using a generator inside a home's living space, in the basement or in the garage.
"We know from experience as victims try to recover from disasters, they will take unnecessary risks with candles, cooking and generators. These risks often result in additional and tragic life safety consequences," said Deputy U.S. Fire Administrator Glenn A. Gaines. "When you consider the challenges faced by firefighters and their departments to also recover from the same disasters, it is important that all of us remember even the simplest of fire safety behaviors following disasters of any type."
Do not put your family at risk. Follow these important safety tips from CPSC and USFA in the aftermath of a storm.