Monday, August 27, 2012

Poison Centers Issue Safety Alert for Portable Generators

In the wake of Tropical Storm Isaac, poison centers are urging people to be wary of carbon monoxide poisoning related to portable generators, says Cynthia Lewis-Younger, director of the Florida Poison Information Center in Tampa. Referred to as a “silent killer,” carbon monoxide has no odors or symptoms that signal a problem. When generators are placed close to homes, in garages or outside bedroom windows, carbon monoxide can seep in and sicken or even kill. This is especially prevalent during and after natural disasters, Lewis-Younger adds. American Association of Poison Control Centers recommends the following tips for using portable generators safely:
·         Carefully follow the manufacturer’s safety instructions for portable generators.
·         Never use portable generators indoors, in garages or near open windows.
·         Do not siphon gasoline by mouth to fill a generator with fuel.
·         Use battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms. Be sure to test the batteries.
·         If you experience sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness or your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, immediately seek fresh air and call your poison center at (800) 222-1222.
According to Lewis-Younger, many poison emergencies happen during and just after natural disasters such as tropical storms and hurricanes. These simple steps can save lives.