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Generators and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Through years of handling cases involving carbon monoxide poisoning we have learned of the extreme importance of exercising care in the use of gas or diesel fired generators. The use of generators peaks after large storms such as the one that we have just experienced. Unfortunately the number of carbon monoxide poisoning deaths also peaks with the increase in generator use.

Anyone contemplating the use of a generator to replace electric power should know that they should NEVER-EVER run a generator inside a house or building. This includes in a garage and even includes close to any windows or doors. The Consumer Product Safety Commission has found that it is not safe to run a generator within 15 feet of a house.

Generators put out vicious amounts of carbon monoxide in very short time periods. While malfunctioning heaters or hot water heaters may frequently put out sub-lethal levels of CO, generators can and do put out enough to kill within very short periods of time. Any fossil fuel burning generator including, gasoline powered generators, should NEVER be run in or near a building. While this may be inconvenient the alternative is too often death of occupants when these warnings are ignored. Please be assured that the warnings about carbon monoxide from generators are very serious indeed.

If occupants of a house or building using a generator begin to experience headaches, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, dizziness or other unusual symptoms, immediately suspect the generator even if it is running out doors near the house. Turn it off and move it farther away. Go to the hospital and tell the doctors that you believe you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide from a generator as carboxy hemoglobin in the blood can be tested quickly and treatment with hyperbaric oxygen, administered may reduce the affects of carbon monoxide on your health.

If you suffer harm from the operation of a generator by others feel free to contact me at 215-893-3401.

Tom Gowen

Partner, Locks Law Firm

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