Hurricane Ida aftermath: Officials issue warning about generators after 3 killed by carbon monoxide
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The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warned consumers about the dangers of generators Friday after multiple people died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the wake of Hurricane Ida.
"If you have family still without power, please reach out and let them know that a portable generator needs to be outdoors and at least 20ft away from a home," the federal agency tweeted Friday.
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The agency's warning came after three people were killed from carbon monoxide poisoning in Jefferson Parish, Louisiana, according to the Louisiana Department of Health.
The state is still facing widespread power outages as a result of one of the most powerful hurricanes to hit the U.S.
In a follow-up tweet, the CPSC said that one portable generator can produce "the same amount of carbon monoxide as *hundreds* of mid-sized cars."
Carbon monoxide is an "invisible killer" because it has no color or odor, according to CPSC, which also noted that the poisonous gas can kill someone in minutes.
Of the more than 400 people that die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, 78 are estimated to be caused by portable generators, the CPSC said.
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According to CPSC, consumers should make sure the generator’s exhaust is facing away from any home or other building that someone could enter. They must be at least 20 feet away from the building as well.
They should never be operated on a porch or inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or shed even if windows or doors are open, the CPSC said.
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"Opening doors or windows will not provide enough ventilation to prevent the buildup of lethal levels of CO," the agency said.
If a carbon monoxide alarm goes off, people need to get outside immediately and call 911.
"CO poisoning from portable generators can happen so quickly that exposed persons may become unconscious before recognizing the symptoms of nausea, dizziness, or weakness," the agency continued.
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