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Surviving The Aftermath of Hurricane
Katrina, CPSC Warns of Deadly Post-Storm Dangers From Portable Generators,
Candles and Wet Appliances
Courtesy the CPSC Consumer
WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is
warning residents of the Gulf Coast hit by Hurricane Katrina not to let
disaster strike a second time. Deadly dangers exist in and around homes
affected by the hurricane. The most serious hazard involves portable
generators, which will be used in areas where the electricity has been
knocked out by hurricane force winds and flooding. (Photo of oil rig off Alabama
by Peter Cosgrove/AP)
CPSC strongly warns consumers to never use a generator indoors -
including garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds - even with
ventilation. Exhaust fumes contain extremely high levels of carbon
monoxide (CO) which can rapidly become deadly if inhaled. Last year,
numerous deaths were reported throughout the Southeast due to CO
poisoning while using generators in the aftermath of the four hurricanes
that hit the region.
Consumers should only use a portable generator outdoors in a dry area
away from doors, windows and vents that can allow CO to come indoors.
Wait for the rain to pass before using a generator, as consumer-grade
generators are not weatherproof and can pose the risk of electrocution
and shock when used in wet conditions.
Additional life-saving safety tips from CPSC include:
- If using a generator, plug individual appliances into heavy duty,
outdoor-rated extension cords and plug the cords into the generator.
- Check that the extension cords have a wire gauge adequate for the
appliance loads and have all three prongs, including a grounding pin.
- Never store gasoline in the home or near a fuel-burning appliance, such
as a natural gas water heater, where gasoline fumes could be ignited.
- Never use charcoal inside homes, tents, campers, vans, cars, trucks,
garages, or mobile homes. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can
produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
- Make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm
are fresh. Test these alarms to make sure they are working.
- Do not use electrical or gas appliances that have been wet, and do not
turn on damaged appliances because of the hazards of electric shock or
fire. Replace all gas control valves, circuit breakers, and fuses that
have been under water.
- Exercise caution when using candles. Use flashlights instead. If you
must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch
fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when
you leave the room.
Chain saws can be hazardous, especially if they "kick back." To help
reduce this hazard, make sure that your chain saw is equipped with a
low-kickback chain. Always wear shoes, gloves, and protective glasses.
This article provided courtesy the
US Consumer Product Safety Commission. Find more product home and business safety info on their website,
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