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Take precautions with generators

Recent wintry weather has resulted in power outages and prompted the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to warn residents of the deadly dangers from portable generators. News reports indicate there have been near tragedies in Connecticut and Massachusetts from generators being improperly used indoors.CPSC strongly warns consumers to never use a generator indoors – including garages, basements, crawl spaces and sheds – even with ventilation. Exhaust fumes contain extremely high levels of carbon monoxide that can rapidly become deadly if inhaled. Consumers should use a portable generator outdoors only in a dry area away from doors, windows and vents that can allow CO to come indoors. Carbon monoxide from generators resulted in at least 79 deaths yearly from 2005 through 2007. Additional safety tips from CPSC include: • Check to make sure your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms have batteries and work. • If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away. • Do not connect the generator directly into your home’s electrical system through a receptacle outlet – this poses a fire hazard and an electrocution hazard to utility workers and neighbors served by the same transformer. • If using a generator, plug appliances into heavy duty, outdoor-rated extension cords and plug cords into the generator. • Check that the extension cords have a wire gauge adequate for the appliance loads and have all three prongs, including a grounding pin. • Keep charcoal grills outside. Never use them indoors.

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