Widespread power outages in the Baton Rouge area in the aftermath of Hurricane Isaac mean that many residents will be using portable generators while they wait for power to be restored.
With that in mind, we urge residents to heed some safety precautions regarding generator use from Louisiana State Fire Marshal Butch Browning. Deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning as a result of improper portable generator use “emphasize the fact that no one should take gasoline-operated generators for granted,” Browning said.
Browning says all generators should be at least 20 feet outside a house in a well-ventilated area, such as a patio or backyard. Residents should not put generators inside carports, garages, utility rooms, workshops or any place that is enclosed. The only place a generator can be safely operated is outside in the open with electrical connections waterproofed, Browning added.
Browning stressed that generator owners should be keenly aware of any openings where fumes from a generator can enter a home. We hope that residents heed Browning’s advisory on proper portable generator use. Hurricane Isaac has already caused much suffering. Injury or death from improperly used generators would only make things worse.