The Middletown Township Fire Department responded to 93 Tropical Storm Isaias related incidents in a 37-hour period. Thirty-seven (40%) of those calls were for Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector activation. Generators emit exhaust containing carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that has the potential to be very deadly because most people don’t realize they are being poisoned until it’s too late. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, portable generators are responsible for more than 900 people dying of carbon monoxide poisoning from portable generators between 2005 and 2017. With hurricane season is fast approaching, the MTFD is asking residents to please follow these safety tips on CO Detector maintenance and generator safety use to prevent CO from entering your house:
- Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors. This includes basements and garages, which that can capture deadly levels of carbon monoxide. Always place the generator at least 20 feet from the house with the engine exhaust directed away from windows and doors. Contrary to popular myth, keeping the garage door open does not provide enough ventilation to keep the fumes outside.
- Purchase a (CO) detector with a plug and battery backup. That way, if you shut off the generator, the battery backup will automatically keep the device going.
- Traffic cones are placed to protect you from a potentially dangerous situation. Going around them could put you and our volunteer firefighters at risk.