Yesterday, Thursday, 11/1, New Canaan emergency services responded to at least 6 incidents of homes filled with deadly levels of CO (carbon monoxide) gas from generators running. As I write this It is 8:00 am on Friday, 11/2, and we have already responded to two more incidents – there will be more.
CO is an odorless, invisible gas that can kill if not detected quickly. Symptoms are headaches, nausea and flue-like symptoms. Long term exposure to low levels can be just as deadly as short term exposure at high levels.
There is no doubt in my mind that there will be fatalities in the region caused by CO poisoning before this disaster recovery is complete. It is imperative that homeowners follow ALL safety instructions for safe use of generators. The following tips will help us all survive this safely:
Generators should be at least 10 feet outside homes with the exhaust discharge directed away from the home. Never inside garages or on porches.
Make sure smoke and CO detectors are present and operating in the home. For assistance with detectors please contact the EOC at 203-594-4100.
Never re-fuel while generator is hot. Store gas cans at least ten feet from generator.
Never try to feed your home through an electrical outlet - this could cause power to back-feed to the street causing injury to workers trying to restore power.
Always follow manufacturers use, installation and care.
For further assistance please contact the New Canaan Emergency operations center at 203-594-4100.