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Safety Warning for Portable Generators During Hurricane

If you’re planning on using a portable generator for power should Hurricane Sandy wipe out electricity in your region, beware: Nearly 100 people die every year from carbon monoxide poisoning caused by using their generators incorrectly.

The nation’s poison centers, as well as federal safety agencies, have issued warnings urging Americans to use caution and follow safety guidelines when setting up their portable generators during this storm.

The American Association of Poison Control Centers says carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common poison-related cause of hospitalization and death in the wake of hurricanes. The odorless gas is called a silent killer because people often don’t realize its effects until too late.

According to safety experts, when people use generators improperly – too close to homes, in garages or outside bedroom windows – carbon monoxide can seep in and sicken or even kill. Open windows or outside garage doors do not provide adequate ventilation for generators or other gas-powered equipment.

Follow these tips from the U.S. Fire Administration to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

The American Association of Poison Control Centers also recommends:

Photo: fs.fed.us