Generator use during Superstorm Sandy resulted in numerous carbon monoxide poisonings and deaths. ECUATEPI: english news, offers, technical, ecuadorian, of, protection, against, fire, security, industrial, extinguishers, fire, latin, american, ecuador

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Generator use during Superstorm Sandy resulted in numerous carbon monoxide poisonings and deaths.

Firefighters responding to a 911 call at Gracie Dunston’s New Jersey home in November found her unconscious on the second floor. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) were detected in the house, prompting medics to rush her, three adults, and four children to a nearby hospital. Dunston, 59, never regained consciousness, and the others were treated for symptoms of CO poisoning. The culprit was a generator placed in the basement that spewed deadly fumes throughout the home, according to The Times of Trenton.
 
The incident mirrors other occurrences last year involving Sandy-induced power outages along the East Coast and Midwest and improper use of generators. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission does look into all generator-related fatalities, the Commission could not provide a count on the number of storm-related deaths and injuries involving CO, an invisible and odorless gas created when fuels burn incompletely. News reports, however, indicate CO exposure during Sandy was responsible for at least 15 deaths, many of them involving generators.

Released last year, NFPA’s "Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Incidents" report also underscores some CO trends. Between 2006 and 2010, fire departments responded to an estimated 72,000 non-fire CO incidents, a figure that has increased over time. Most of these incidents occurred in residential settings. In 2008, for example, the report states that nearly 670 people died of unintentional non-fire exposure to gases, and the report links many of these deaths to CO exposure from generators. CO-related deaths from generator use have also increased from 1999 to 2009.

NFPA advises against placing generators in attached garages and nearby areas where fumes can enter a home. To further prevent CO exposure, generators should be used in well-ventilated, outdoor locations — away from all doors, windows, and vent openings. NFPA also recommends installing CO detectors outside of sleeping areas and on every level of a home as an added level of safety.

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