Local CO Poisoning Cases Caused By Improper Generator Use



Volusia County, FL - According to the FL Department of Health (DOH) in Volusia County, there have been 13 suspected cases of carbon monoxide poisonings since Hurricane Matthew - all related to the improper use of generators.

The majority of those cases stemmed from generators being used outside the home.  “Generators should never be used inside an enclosed space,” said Dr. Paul Rehme, DOH-Volusia Disease Control Director.  “However, using a generator outside can be just as dangerous.  If it’s outside but too close to an opening – such as near an AC unit, vents, doors and windows, the generator’s toxic gas can cause illness or death.”

Of these cases investigated, which happened between October 7 and 10, 9 were confirmed CO poisonings, and 4 were suspected. 1 person was killed, and that was a case when the generator was used inside the home. In all of the cases, the poisoning was due to the use of generators during power outages caused by Hurricane Matthew.

“Follow the directions that come with the generator,” Rehme said. “We cannot emphasize that enough. That includes proper generator placement even when it’s outside the home or office.”

DOH-Volusia has come out with several tips to help prevent CO poisoning, but according to Rehme the most important tip is to get a CO detector. They will alert you when CO levels are high, but well below the point where it will cause damage. Other tips are:

  • Don't burn charcoal or gas grills indoors
  • Never use a generator indoors
  • Always put generators outdoors on a dry surface, away from openings like doors, windows, vents, and AC equipment
  • Carefully follow all instructions that come with your generator
  • Install CO alarms in your home and make sure they're certified to the requirements of the latest safety standards
  • Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator get outside as fast as possible
  • If you have a poisoning emergency call the nearest FL Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222
  • If someone collapses or stops breathing call 911

Copyright Southern Stone Communications 2016.


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