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:
- Generators can be safely used outdoors away from windows and ventilation intake ducts.
- NEVER use portable generators indoors, in garages or near open windows.
- Do not siphon gasoline by mouth to fill a generator with fuel.
- Use battery-operated (or battery-backup) carbon monoxide alarms. Be sure to test the batteries.
- 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.