A special note on generator safety is appropriate given the loss of life that often occurs from improper use of gasoline powered generators. The first confirmed death in Florida related to Tropical Storm Fay in 2008 occurred when a man was testing a generator inside his garage. He died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Several “indirect” deaths have been reported after hurricanes when the power goes out due to misuse of generators.
Carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. This odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas is known as the “Silent Killer.” The Centers for Disease Control estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives, and causes more than 15,000 visits to hospital emergency departments annually.
It is extremely important not to run a generator inside the house or even close enough to the house that the gas can seep into the house. A carbon monoxide detector is essential if you run a gas powered generator. But don’t let a carbon monoxide detector lull you into a false sense of security. Also, these generators usually can’t be used in a high rise condominium because there is no good way to prevent the possibility of carbon monoxide coming inside.
If you use a portable generator, make sure that you follow the instructions precisely. Not doing so could kill you.