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Press Release

Press Release # 031-12
Wednesday, October 31, 2012

MEDIA CONTACT: (347) 396-4177
Jean Weinberg:

Health Department Advises New Yorkers to Exercise Caution When Using Portable Generators to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Never use portable generators indoors, in garages or near open windows.

October 31, 2012 – The Health Department is urging New Yorkers to be careful when using portable generators in order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common poison-related cause of hospitalization and death in the wake of hurricanes. It is called the "silent killer" because it causes no odors or symptoms to signal a problem. When people use generators improperly – too close to homes, in garages, or outside bedroom windows – carbon monoxide can seep in and cause illness or death.

Here are simple tips for New Yorkers:

  1. Generators can be safely used outdoors away from windows and ventilation intake ducts.
  2. NEVER use portable generators indoors, in garages or near open windows.
  3. Do not siphon gasoline by mouth to fill a generator with fuel.
  4. Use battery-operated (or battery-backup) carbon monoxide alarms. Be sure to test the batteries.
  5. If you experience sleepiness, dizziness, headaches, confusion, weakness, or your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, immediately seek fresh air and call the Poison Control Center (212) POISONS (764-7667) or 911.