Post-Hurricane Safety Tips - Consumer Justice Foundation

Post-Hurricane Safety Tips

Written by Faith Anderson on November 2, 2012
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Deaths Caused by Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, consumers are urged to exercise great caution when using gas-powered generators for power outages, because the devices release significant amounts of carbon monoxide – a toxic gas that is odorless, colorless, tasteless and extremely hard to detect. Since 1999, carbon monoxide has been responsible for at least 828 deaths involving consumers operating a generator inside their home or in the garage. In light of this serious risk, consumers have been urged to never leave a generator inside an enclosed area, as the build-up of any carbon monoxide in a living space can have deadly consequences.

Gas Leaks and Electrical Shock

Federal agencies have also warned consumers to stay away from any downed electrical wires, including cable TV feeds, as they could be live and may contain deadly voltage. For consumers whose homes have been affected by flooding, they should never handle or operate electrical appliances, including wiring in the walls, circuit breakers and outlets, as even the slightest water damage can result in electrical shock. Consumers with natural gas lines or propane valves that have been under water as a result of the hurricane are being urged to replace them; a gas leak can be detected by smelling and listening around the lines. If gas lines are believed to be leaking, residents are advised to leave the house immediately, leave the doors open and call emergency services.

Fire Risk With Candle Usage

Finally, government officials are discouraging residents impacted by Hurricane Sandy from using candles as a source of light during a power outage; flashlights are recommended instead, if they are available. If candles are the only light source available, residents should extinguish the candle when leaving the room, and never leave a burning candle unattended. Injuries, property damage and fatalities from consumer product incidents are not uncommon, and cost the United States more than $900 billion every year. In the wake of the damage and power outages caused by Hurricane Sandy, consumers are urged to follow these simple safety tips to avoid deadly consequences.

Posted Under: United States
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