Deadly dangers can exist after a natural disaster knocks out
power or causes flooding. Here is some important safety information to keep in mind from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.
• Never use a portable generator indoors - including
garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds - even with ventilation. Exhaust fumes contain
extremely high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) that can rapidly become deadly if inhaled.
• Only use a portable generator outdoors in a dry area away
from doors, windows and vents that can allow CO to come indoors. Wait for the rain to pass
before using a generator. Consumer-grade generators are not weatherproof and can pose
the risk of electrocution and shock when used in wet conditions.
• If using a generator, plug individual appliances into
heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cords and plug the cords into the generator.
• Check that the extension cords have a wire gauge adequate
for the appliance loads and have all three prongs, including a
• Never store gasoline in the home or near a fuel-burning
appliance, such as a natural gas water heater, where gasoline fumes
could be ignited.
• Never use charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an
enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
• Make sure the batteries in your smoke alarm and carbon
monoxide alarm are working.
• Do not use electric or gas appliances that have been wet
or damaged because of the hazards of electric shock, fire, or explosion.
• Exercise caution when using candles. Use flashlights
instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that
can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish
candles when you leave the room.