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Saturday, October 27, 2012

Gasoline Powered Generators Safety Tips

                      MEDIA CONTACT: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930

The exact location of landfall of Hurricane Sandy is not really important for us at this point.  What is important is that Prince George's County will incur the effects of this powerful slow moving storm.  High winds and heavy rains are expected to cause power outages.  Our utility companies are prompting citizens, visitors and businesses that outages could last for days and to be prepared.

Whenever power outages occur the use of gasoline powered generators increase.  Stores have been sold out of generators since Thursday adding to the number of machines that will be in use.  Gasoline powered generators pose a fire and injury as well as a health threat from carbon monoxide (CO) exposure.  The Prince George’s County Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department offer these safety tips when operating a gasoline-powered generator.

  • Always follow manufacturers instructions on the correct and safe operation of your generator.  

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside of your home and away from all doors, windows and vent openings to avoid CO seeping into your home. 

  • The generator should be placed as far away as possible with at least a 3-foot perimeter away from combustibles - even your house itself - firefighters have seen the heat from a generator exhaust melt a homes siding and ignite a fire.

  • Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage, even with the door open.  CO will kill you and other home occupants in a very short period of time.

  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.

  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

  • When plugging in appliances, make sure they are plugged directly into the generator or a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord. The cords should be checked for cuts, tears and that the extension cord plug has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.

  • Apartments and condos are not permitted to use generators on their balconies. CO can enter into living areas above and on either side of your unit.
Carbon Monoxide is called the "Silent Killer" by firefighters and paramedics.  The properties of CO are undetectable by human senses.  CO can not be seen, tasted, smelled and it does not make a sound.  CO will make you feel sick and based on the length and amount of exposure, it can kill you.  A CO detector is the only effective way to alert residents to the presence of unhealthy levels of CO in your home.

Be advised, gasoline powered generators produce a high amount of CO.  If the generator is used indoors, the high amounts of CO will make you very sick and kill you in a very short period of time.
  • Never use a gasoline powered generator in your home and garage.
  • Buy and install a CO detector.

Remember to use good common sense safety habits.  Safety First will ensure everyone goes home.  Be part of the solution and not part of the problem.

Stay Informed - Stay Ready - Stay Safe!!!

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Call 911 if you have a life or death and property emergency.

Call 311 if you have a question about services, a non-emergency situation or inquiries about County Government in general.

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