DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Health

December 26, 2013

State officials: Use generators carefully

Winter storms raise safety concerns from New Hampshire State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan and Gov. Maggie Hassan.

When severe storms hit, they can affect electric utilities. The threat of power outages from storms increases the threat of carbon monoxide exposures from the use of generators.

Unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning kills and injures people across the nation and New Hampshire each year.

“Generators are one of the most common source of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in New Hampshire,” Degnan said, “but carbon monoxide can also be a problem with temporary cooking appliances or space heaters, motor vehicles left running in attached garages or adjacent to a building, generators used during power outages or any other type of fuel burning appliance. “

Many deaths are caused by improper use of generators.

“When using a generator have it at least 10 feet from your home with the exhaust facing away from the house. Never run a generator inside of any building including a garage with an open door,” Degnan said. “Carbon monoxide is the silent killer. You cannot see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, but it can cause severe health problems or death. It is important that everyone have carbon monoxide detectors where they sleep.”

Degnan said it is critical that every home has at least one smoke detector and one carbon monoxide detector on each floor level and they are interconnected.

He emphasized that “every family should develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Smoke detectors should be tested monthly, and matches and lighters should be kept out of the reach of children at all times.”

For further information concerning home fire safety, contact your local fire department or the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

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