CPSC gives tips on avoiding CO poisoning

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If you plan on powering sensitive consumer electronics, you should buy an inverter generator that provides stable power output.

BATON ROUGE, La (BRPROUD) The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission  warning consumers in the storm path to protect themselves against carbon monoxide poisoning and electric shock.

It is called the invisible killer because it is colorless and odorless. Poisonous carbon monoxide from a portable generator can kill in minutes.

If using a portable generator or other devices for sources of power, there is an increased risk of Carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.

Tips for portable generators:

  • Check that your generator has had proper maintenance, and read and follow the labels, instructions, and warnings on the generator and in the owner’s manual.
  • Operate portable generators OUTSIDE ONLY, at least 20 feet away from the house; and direct the generator’s exhaust away from the home and any other buildings that someone could enter.
  • NEVER operate a portable generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed or on the porch. Opening doors or windows will not provide enough ventilation to prevent the buildup of lethal levels of CO.
  • CO poisoning from portable generators can happen so quickly that exposed persons may become unconscious before recognizing the symptoms of nausea, dizziness, or weakness.

Tips for smoke and CO alarms:

  • Press the test button to make sure CO and smoke alarms in your home are working properly, and replace batteries, if needed.         
  • Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup in your home, outside separate sleeping areas and on each floor of your home.
  • Place smoke alarms on every level of your home, inside each bedroom and outside sleeping areas.    
  • Never ignore carbon monoxide and smoke alarms when they sound. Get outside immediately. Then call 911. 

Do not use charcoal indoors because burning it in enclosed spaces can cause deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Do not cook on a charcoal grill in a garage.

Use flashlights instead of candles. If using candles, don’t light them near anything that can catch on fire.

Consumers should follow CPSC’s safety tips before and after the storm.

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