Once again it’s hurricane season in the southern United States. Luckily western Michigan doesn’t get hurricanes but we do get storms that can knock out power for several days at a time. When this happens people often turn to generators. The news from the gulf coast last week says that Hurricane Laura killed more people from carbon monoxide poisoning from generators than died from the storm. This is sad since it is totally preventable.
Although using power generators is useful and often necessary to prevent food spoilage, provide lights, and water, it must be done safely. Never use a generator inside a building or partly enclosed area such as a garage or covered deck. Keep generators away from open windows and doors. Wind can force the exhaust back into your home. Keep generators dry and out of the rain and be careful how you cover them. Try to keep them at least 5 feet from any combustible materials (including tarps).
Never start or stop a generator without first unplugging all cords and making sure there is no load on the unit. Use proper fuel, never leave them unattended, and keep children away from the units. Make sure you don’t overload the generator, do use heavy duty (outdoor rated) extension cords, and let the unit cool completely before adding fuel. Store fuel away from generator if possible.
Carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless. You will not even know it is there until it is too late. The experts at SERVPRO of Manistee, Ludington, and Cadillac can help with the storm damage, but the only thing we can do about generator safety is to remind you to be careful. Call our crews located at our offices in Ludington, Manistee, and Cadillac at 877-350-4872 for 24 hour help.