According to Orange County, Florida officials, three people died from carbon monoxide poisoning from a generator running after Hurricane Irma knocked out power. Four other members of the multigenerational family were taken to Florida Hospital in very serious condition. A news report states that The Orange County deputy who responded to the home was overwhelmed by the fumes and had to step outside. He was treated on the scene. Another dozen people in Brevard and Polk counties were poisoned Tuesday by carbon monoxide from generators running in their garages.
“Generators, which release carbon monoxide, should never be used indoors, in garages, or any place that is not well ventilated,” said Orange County spokesperson Doreen Overstreet.
Carbon monoxide is a gas you cannot see, taste, or smell. It is often called the “invisible killer.” It is created when fossil fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, coal, natural gas, propane, methane, or wood do not burn completely.
NFPA offers the following reminders:
- Generators should be used in well ventilated locations outside at least 5 feet from all doors, windows, and vent openings.
- Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings in the building. The exhaust must be directed away from the building.
- Make sure to install carbon monoxide alarms in your home.
The Generator Safety tip sheet has additional reminders as does the fact sheet on blackouts included in NFPA’s toolkit: Get Ready! Preparing Your Community for a Disaster.