Officials Issue Warning About Deadly Danger That Lurks As A Result Of Hurricane Damage
Ron DeSantis
Photo: Florida Governor’s Office

National Hurricane Center acting Director Jamie Rhome, who made news waves earlier this week over a segment on CNN in which he made host Don Lemon look silly, warned on Thursday that Floridians needed to be careful about running power generators indoors.

Rhome warned that carbon monoxide poisoning was usually responsible for the most deaths during recovery efforts. Rhome’s warning comes after more than 2 million businesses and homes in the state were left without power after the hurricane made landfall on Wednesday.

“This is a colorless, odorless gas so you’re not going to get a warning. You’re not going to get a smell,” Rhome said. “So please be very careful if you’ve never run a generator before.”

Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis noted that even though there’s an “apparent calm” after the hurricane passes, people needed to careful because “there are still plenty of hazards out there.”

“After #HurricaneIan passes, be careful going outside,” he tweeted. “Make sure to avoid downed power lines, avoid standing water, stay clear of trees, do not drive in standing water and keep generators 20 feet outside of your home.”

The Washington Post noted that in some recent hurricanes, roughly the same number of people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning after using a generator improperly as were killed by the hurricane itself.

The report noted that generators can produce enough carbon monoxide to kill people within a matter of just a few minutes and that the most common mistake that people make is keeping the generators indoors for fear that they might be stolen. The report said that the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has warned that a single generator “can produce the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars.”

Alexander Hoehn-Saric, chair of the CPSC, said that people often times overlook the dangers of leaving a generator indoors because they are focused on “rebuilding their lives” after seeing all the destruction around them.

Officials said that people should not even use generators inside open garages or in areas with lots of open windows and doors because the volume of carbon monoxide that the generator can produce far outweighs the amount of oxygen that can fill the void.

“People don’t use generators all too often. They use them after a storm when they’re traumatized already and so they are looking to get power back on,” Hoehn-Saric said. “They may not realize that you should never use a generator inside of your house or in a garage.”

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