COLUMBIA, Mo. -- The State of Missouri Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) urge residents who may be using generators for power to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.
As ice storm victims tackle the massive job of clearing up debris left by the recent storms many will turn to portable generators for power. Experts warn that gasoline powered generators should not be used indoors because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Authorities have reported several deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel. The initial symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to the flu, and include dizziness, fatigue, headache, nausea, and irregular breathing. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can cause death. CO poisoning from the use of fuel-burning appliances kills several hundred people each year and sends thousands to hospital emergency rooms for treatment.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that individuals:
- Use gasoline-powered generators outdoors and away from air intakes.
- Use the appropriate size and type of power cords to carry the electrical load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires.
- Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed.
- Never connect generators to another power source such as power lines. The reverse flow of electricity or “back feed” can electrocute an unsuspecting utility worker.
FEMA manages federal response and recovery efforts following any national incident, initiates mitigation activities and manages the National Flood Insurance Program. FEMA works closely with state and local emergency managers, law enforcement personnel, firefighters and other first responders. FEMA became part of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security on March 1, 2003.