Trenton Fire Marshal Offers Severe Weather Safety Tips
Trenton Fire Marshal Jeff Evans warns residents of the possible dangers of portable generators used by residents during power outages.
With Michigan weather acting as crazy as ever, Trenton Fire Marshal Jeff Evans contacted Trenton Patch to help warn residents of dangers related to severe weather.
Severe weather can lead to power outages, which might cause residents to fire up their portable generators to keep electrical devices running.
Evans said there are some dangers associated with using portable generators.
“The biggest fear is the exhaust from a portable generator,” Evans said. “It can kill people.”
Portable generators emit poisonous carbon monoxide gases. According to Evans, carbon monoxide deaths associated with generators have spiked in recent years as generator sales have risen.
In 2005, there were 64 deaths in the U.S. from carbon monoxide poisoning associated with generators, according to Evans.
Evans said generators should be operated in well-ventilated locations outdoors and away from all doors, windows and vent openings, so exhaust fumes cannot enter the home. Evans also recommended installing carbon monoxide alarms in homes.
He added that another danger related to portable generators often occurs when operators refill the gas tank.
“People will have it in their garage so no one will steal it, when it runs out of gas they refill it,” Evans said. “If they spill some of the gas on the hot generator it can start a fire, burning the person and possibly burning down the garage.”
Storing the generator outside while in use would help residents avoid injuring themselves or damaging their property.
Lastly, using a generator during a power outage could also be hazardous to firefighters and utility workers because the generators are programmed to turn on when the power goes out. Emergency personnel might mistakenly believe the power is off and suffer an electric shock from the generator.
Evans encourages residents to warn emergency personnel of the existence of a generator during a power outage.