Survival Tips After The Storm
CPSC, FEMA and USFA Warn About Deadly Dangers After Hurricane Sandy Passes
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Hurricane Sandy is a massive, slow moving storm that has
left millions of Americans along the East Coast without electricity. The
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA), and U.S. Fire Administration (USFA) are warning residents in
hurricane-impacted areas about the deadly dangers that still remain as
Hurricane Sandy tracks north.
Consumers need to use great caution during a loss of electrical power, as
the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from portable generators, fire
from candles, and electrical shock from downed power lines increases.
In order to power lights, keep food cold or cook, consumers often use
gas-powered generators. CPSC, FEMA, and USFA warn consumers never to use
portable generators indoors, in basements, garages, or close to a home. The
exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO),
greater than that of multiple cars running in a garage, which can quickly
incapacitate and kill.
"Our goal is to save lives and prevent further disasters in the aftermath of
Sandy," said CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum. "Never run a generator in or
right next to a home. Carbon monoxide is an invisible killer. CO is odorless
and colorless and it can kill you and your family in minutes."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with those in the Mid-Atlantic states who've
been affected by this storm. We strongly encourage all of those in affected
areas to stay indoors, in a safe location and to continue to monitor
conditions," said FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate. "As the federal
government continues to support the life-saving efforts of state, tribal and
local officials, individuals need to do their part and remain out of harm's
way. Do not try to return home until local officials give the all clear."
"We know from experience as victims try to recover from disasters, they will
take unnecessary risks with candles, cooking and generators. These risks
often result in additional and tragic life safety consequences," said U.S.
Fire Administrator Ernie Mitchell. "When you consider the challenges faced
by firefighters and their departments to also recover from the same
disasters, it is important that all of us remember even the simplest of fire
safety behaviors following disasters of any type."
Deaths involving portable generators have been on the rise since 1999 when
generators became widely available to consumers. There have been at least
755 CO deaths involving generators from 1999 through 2011. While reporting
of incidents for 2011 is ongoing, there were at least 73 CO related deaths
involving generators last year. The majority of the deaths occurred as a
result of using a generator inside a home's living space, in the basement or
in the garage.
Do not put your family at risk. Follow these important safety tips from
CPSC, FEMA, and USFA in the aftermath of the storm.
Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors
and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows,
doors and vents. Read both the label on your generator and the owner's
manual and follow the instructions. Any electrical cables you use with the
generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.
Charcoal Grills and Camp Stoves
Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when
consumers burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which
produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.
Install carbon monoxide alarms immediately outside each sleeping area and on
every level of the home to protect against CO poisoning. Change the alarms'
batteries every year.
Electrical and Gas Safety
Stay away from any downed wires, including cable TV feeds. They may be live
with deadly voltage. If you are standing in water, do not handle or operate
electrical appliances. Electrical components, including circuit breakers,
wiring in the walls and outlets that have been under water should not be
turned on. They should be replaced unless properly inspected and tested by a
Natural gas or propane valves that have been under water should be replaced.
Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you believe there is a gas
leak, immediately leave the house, leave the door(s) open, and call 911.
Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion. Before turning
the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.
Use caution with candles. If possible, use flashlights instead. If you must
use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never
leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the
Consumers, fire departments and state and local health and safety agencies
can download CPSC's generator safety posters, door hangers and CO safety
publications at CPSC's CO Information Center or order free copies by
contacting CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772.
Download FEMA and USFA's lifesaving information on disasters at
www.Ready.gov and www.usfa.dhs.gov
To see this press release on CPSC's web site, please go to:
Visit our blog, OnSafety at www.cpsc.gov/onsafety See our videos on YouTube
at http://www.youtube.com/uscpsc Follow us on Twitter at
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the
public from unreasonable risks of injury or death from thousands of types of
consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. The CPSC is committed to
protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire,
electrical, chemical, or mechanical hazard or can injure children. The
CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs,
power tools, cigarette lighters, and household chemicals - contributed
significantly to the 30 percent decline in the rate of deaths and injuries
associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury, visit
www.saferproducts.gov, or contact CPSC's Hotline at info**At_Symbol_Here**cpsc.gov, (800)
638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To join a CPSC e-mail
subscription list, please go to https://www.cpsc.gov/cpsclist.aspx.
Consumers can obtain recall and general safety information by logging on to
CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.
This message is from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
(www.cpsc.gov), an independent federal regulatory agency, located at 4330
East West Highway, Bethesda, MD 20814 Toll-free hotline: (800) 638-2772.
Report an Unsafe Product: www.SaferProducts.gov
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