Hurricane Season Begins June 1st, CPSC Urges Consumers to Prepare for Dangers After the Storm

May 29, 2008
Release Number: 08-291

June 1st marks the start of hurricane season. As you put your hurricane plan in place to protect your family and your home, CPSC is urging consumers to include a plan for after the storm.

If a storm knocks out power, consumers who use portable gasoline generators to restore power can place themselves at risk for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Only use portable generators outdoors, far away from the doors, windows and vents of indoor spaces. Generators should never be used indoors, including inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces and sheds.

The amount of CO from one generator is equivalent to hundreds of idling cars in a garage and can kill consumers in minutes. At least 65 people died from CO poisoning associated with portable generators in 2006.

CPSC also advises consumers to keep charcoal grills outside. Never use them indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of CO.

If flooding occurs after a storm, do not use gas or electrical appliances or equipment that has been submerged. The electrical components and safety controls may be damaged and burner parts may be plugged with debris, leading to a fire risk. Have fireplaces, furnaces, and other heating equipment inspected by a professional to make sure they are working properly.

CPSC recommends that consumers install CO alarms in their homes as a line of defense against CO poisoning. Battery operated CO alarms or plug-in alarms with battery back-up add an important layer of protection in consumers’ homes. Remember to replace CO alarm batteries annually.

For more information on protecting your family against CO poisoning, visit www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/464.pdf and www.cpsc.gov/CPSCPUB/PUBS/468.html