The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

March 11, 2013

Generators need to be used wisely

You can never be too careful.

That point was driven home during the blizzard last month, when a man using a generator to provide heat to his home was overcome by fumes and died.

His home was one of thousands that lost power during the blizzard. And, like many, he used a gas-powered generator to provide heat and some lights to his home. Unfortunately, he had the generator set up in a closed garage that provided no ventilation for the deadly fumes.

We’re not out of winter yet, though we are fast approaching the end of the time when we would expect to see more blizzards.

However, we’re also fast approaching another challenging weather time — spring, and the chance of thunderstorms and severe weather.

High winds can bring down power lines and poles, just as the heavy snow and strong winds did last month, so there always is the possibility people may need generators again to provide power.

Unfortunately, the exhaust fumes contain carbon monoxide, which is an odorless gas that can kill.

National Fire Protection Association offers some tips that can save lives:

• Keep generators outside in well-ventilated areas away from doors, windows and vent openings.

• Don’t use generators in a garage, even with the door open.

• Place a generator so the exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings.

• Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home.

The rule of thumb is be safe and stay alive.

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