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CPSC Report Warns That Portable Generators Kill 100 People Each Year

September 19, 2022

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) released a new report concerning carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths concerning portable electric generators.

CPSC also initiated a new public service announcement (PSA) that highlights the risks associated with portable generators. The report, Fatal Incidents Associated with Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Engine-Driven Generators and Other Engine-Driven Tools 2011-2021, estimates that nearly 100 people are killed each year from CO poisoning caused by portable gasoline generators in the US. This CPSC report warns that African Americans are at an even higher risk of harm. The report states that 23 percent of generator CO deaths are African Americans. 

According to the CPSC, 81% of generator fatalities happen at residential locations. The Consumer Product Saftey Commission's study also discovered the top three reasons why people use a generator were

  1. Weather-related electrical power outages, 
  2. Power turnoffs, and 
  3. Providing power to temporary locations, such as campers, trailers, and cabins.  

The new CPSC PSA states, "One portable generator produces the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars illustrates how gasoline-powered portable generators can create a risk of CO poisoning that can kill in minutes." This PSA will also be made available in Spanish.

Carbon Monoxide is also known as the invisible killer since its a colorless and odorless gas. CO poisoning caused by portable generators happens so quickly that an exposed person can go unconscious long before feeling symptoms such as dizziness, nausea, and weakness. The CPSC states that people who intend to use a portable electricity generator should follow these important safety tips:

  • Never use a portable generator inside a garage, home, basement, crawlspace, porch or shed. 
  • Opening windows or doors will not provide enough ventilation necessary to prevent dangerous CO levels. 
  • Operate generators outside and at least 20 feet away from your house, and be sure to direct the generator's exhaust away from your home.
  • Make sure your portable generator has had its proper maintenance, and follow the warning labels and instructions in the owner's manual.
  • Buy portable generators that auto shut off switch when high levels of CO are detected. These models should be certified to the latest safety standards for generators, which is PGMA G300-2018 and UL 2201. These standards are estimated to reduce fatalities from CO poisoning by 87% and 100%.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission advises that people install CO alarms with battery or backup battery-operated CO alarms on each floor and outside each bedroom. It is also important to test your CO alarms often. Never ignore an alarm. If an alarm sounds, leave the home immediately and call 911.

Did you or a loved suffer harm using an unsafe power generator?  Protect your legal rights by calling Montlick Injury Attorneys Nationwide, 24/7, at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). Our Product Liability Lawyers are here to listen, understand your situation, and advise you. 

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