Gas-Powered Generators Made Hurricane Laura Even Deadlier
Sometimes a "solution" can become a bigger problem than the original problem. That has certainly been the case with gas-powered generators.
Due to misuse of these generators, some people have suffered shocks and burns. Others have lost their homes in fires.
And very sadly, others have even lost their lives. Most of those were due to failing to follow instructions provided by the manufacturer. The result was carbon monoxide poisoning.
The only thing these people wanted was backup power. They wanted to keep some lights on. And their food fresh. As well as their medical and other electronic devices working.
Beware of the Silent Killer
Research shows carbon monoxide from a gas-powered generator can be deadly. Even deadlier than the disaster leading someone to buy it.
Gas-powered generator manufacturers put out warnings. They say to pay strict attention to instructions for usage. But those warnings are not always heeded.
Here's one of the biggest problems with carbon monoxide. People generally don't notice it until they start feeling ill. It's an odorless, colorless gas.
Falling asleep while carbon monoxide is present can be deadly. Depending on the levels, it can be lethal within five minutes.
CDC Issues Warnings
The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention issued this warning about generators.
"If used or placed improperly, these sources can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) buildup. Inside buildings, garages and campers. And poison the people and animals inside.
"These devices should never be used inside an enclosed space, home, basement, garage or camper. Or even outside near an open window or window air conditioner.
"A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild CO poisoning. Other common symptoms of CO poisoning are dizziness, weakness, drowsiness. (And) upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion."
9 Die of CO Poisoning During Hurricane Laura
Unfortunately, we were reminded of these dangers in late August. Hurricane Laura tied the record for strongest storm making landfall in Louisiana. The record dated back to 1856.
More than 900,000 people lost power in the states affected by the Category 4 storm. And hundreds of thousands were left without clean drinking water.
Forty-two people in the U.S. were killed by the storm. Including 32 in Louisiana. It featured 150-mile-per-hour winds.
Among them were at least nine who died of CO poisoning from their gas-powered generators. Of those nine were a family of five, including a woman named Kim, who perished due to carbon-monoxide poisoning. That's according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
Generators Cause Issues in California
During the California wildfires this fall, a house burned down in El Dorado County. Why? Because a gas generator was too close to a garage.
An improperly maintained gas-powered generator burned down a garage in Nevada County.
A couple in Penn Valley was treated for carbon monoxide poisoning. Because their gas generator was too close to a window in their mobile home.
An improperly wired generator sent electricity back into the power line. It consumed the generator in fire at an Indian Springs horse ranch.
Generator Safety Tips
In case it hasn't become obvious yet, gas-powered generators should not be your first choice.
But if you absolutely have to use one, please follow these important safety tips.
- Read the generator manual carefully. Follow the instructions to the letter
- Keep your generator at least 25 feet from any building.
- Make sure fumes are not blowing toward anything flammable. Such as vegetation.
- Store your gas cans properly. And far away from the generator.
- Keep your generator away from vents and windows.
- Install at least one carbon monoxide alarm in your home. And keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Don't run your generator while it's raining. Unless it's shielded by a waterproof and well-ventilated tent.
- Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. Instead, use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord to plug appliances into generators.
- Before refueling, turn the generator off and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes. Gasoline and other flammable liquid spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
- Have your generator inspected annually and replace any worn parts.
Patriot Power Sidekick
It seems that power outages are occurring more and more often these days. And extreme weather is frequently the culprit. This year alone, we've seen record-breaking numbers of hurricanes, tornadoes, and wildfires.
Now we're heading into winter when ice storms and blizzards bring their own challenges for our frail power grid.
That's why more and more Americans are taking matters into their own hands and securing their own solar powered generator.
Solar generators are a smart choice because they create an endless supply of life-saving electricity when you need it most - without gas, fumes or noise.
My suggestion for handling short-term blackouts is the new Patriot Power Sidekick. This mini solar generator never needs gas and costs less than an iPhone.
It weighs only eight pounds. But with its 300-watt capacity, you can use it to power your cellphone or laptop and keep medical devices running. Plus, power lights for safety and comfort, turn on lights to ward off looters and so much more.