7 Generator Dangers

The use of portable generators can help families and communities quickly regain normalcy in the aftermath of severe weather. Although there are many life saving benefits to using a portable generator, some people may be unaware of
the dangers, especially when it comes to carbon monoxide poisoning.

1. Engine exhaust contains carbon monoxide. You cannot smell, see or taste carbon monoxide, but it can be a deadly threat to you and your family.

2. Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas. Never ignore a ringing carbon monoxide alarm! It is warning you of a potentially deadly hazard that cannot be ignored.

3. Always read and follow the portable generator’s manual before turning it on and operating it.

4. Always position a portable generator downwind, and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.

5. Only operate the portable generator outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas accumulating and being drawn toward occupied spaces.

6. Do not run a portable generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up and linger for hours, even after the generator has been shut off.

7. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using the portable generator, you may have carbon monoxide poisoning. Get to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention. Very high levels of carbon monoxide can rapidly cause victims to lose consciousness before they can rescue themselves. Do not attempt to shut off the power generator before moving to fresh air.

Source: Portable Generator Manufacturer’s Association (

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Flood preparation Pets
Make plans to deal with pets before flooding becomes dangerous.


Saving Pets During Disasters

They provide comfort and companionship, but when disaster strikes, will your beloved pets be safe?

EVACUATION PLANNING: Know your route and plan when you will evacuate. Not all shelters for humans can accommodate pets, so dentify locations where you could take your pet. Friends or relatives outside the evacuation area are other safe possibilities.

QUICK LOCATION: Be aware of your pet’s favorite hiding places so you’ll know where to look for them when you’re in a hurry to evacuate your home.

ALERT RESPONDERS: Place a pet rescue decal on your front door or window to alert first responders to the possible presence of a pet in the house. It should include your veterinarian’s contact information and any special notes about your pet’s personality or medical needs. Carry a picture of your pet in case you become separated from them in an emergency.

ID TAGS: Be sure your pet always wears the correct and most up-to-date identification, such as a microchip or collar identification tag.

MEDICAL STATS: Keep your pet’s vaccinations and veterinary records current, especially the most recent proof of rabies vaccinations. If your pet is on any medications, keep a few days’ worth in your kit. Also include contact information for your veterinarian and animal hospitals.

GEAR TO GO: Make sure you have adequate pet gear—a collar and leash, a pet carrier (portable kennel), bowls, favorite toys and a blanket, first aid and waste cleaning supplies. Everything should be marked with your pet’s identification.

FOOD RATIONS: Pack a three-day to two-week supply of food and bottled water. Write a brief explanation of your pet’s routine and any behavioral issues. In a disaster, your pet may receive care from someone who isn’t familiar with them.

Related Stories: 7 Ways to Keep Your Pets Safe Around the Holidays

live saving house fire safety tips
As you can see in this photo, the chimney and fireproof safe were the only things left standing after this house fire.


Fireproof Your Valuables

Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually. Fireproof safes are the solution to protecting what you need to rebuild after a tragedy.

FAST RESPONSE: In just two minutes, a fire can become life threatening. In five minutes, a residence can be engulfed in flames.

EXTREME HEAT: The temperature of an average house fire can reach 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. Choose a safe rated at a minimum of 1,400 degrees to ensure the contents are adequately protected.

SAFE SPACE: The average house fire burns for about 20 minutes. A one-hour fireproof safe provides more than ample protection for both paper and electronic valuables. Ensure that the safe is capable of keeping the contents at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or below.

MELTING POINT: If you need to store jewelry, electronics or media, such as computers, film or tapes, make sure the internals of the safe will not go above 125 degrees Fahrenheit. You can’t store computer data in a fire safe rated for paper or it will melt!

DANGER ABOVE: Have an engineer inspect the floor where you plan to keep your safe. During fires, floorboards that are not up to code weaken. The safe that is there to help you may end up harming you by falling through the floor.

Related Stories: 22 Ways to Prevent a House Fire

Mount Ontake volcanic eruption
The unexpected eruption of Mt. Ontake in Japan left dozens of hikers dead.


Volcano Hiking Safety

The eruption of Japan’s Mount Ontake was a tragedy without warning. Thinking about hiking an active but quiet volcano? Increase your odds of survival by preparing with these tips below.

CRISIS SHELTER: Many of the survivors in the Mount Ontake eruption managed to find shelter from the flying rock and smothering ash. Pay attention to the location of buildings you could shelter in and alternate paths down the mountain.

ERUPTION HISTORY: Find out the eruptive history, its current status, monitoring programs and  any active warnings to make a solid risk-benefit analysis on if it’s worth it to climb this particular volcano on this particular day.

SEARCH & RESCUE: Let people know where you’re going and when you’ll be back. Pack a first-aid kit, water and a flashlight as well as locaters like a phone, any high-visibility materials and a whistle.

STAY ALIVE: Pack goggles to help you see through ash, a particle mask to protect your lungs and a helmet to protect your head from flying rocks. Source: Space IO9

Related Stories: Dozens Killed In Volcanic Eruption

This article was originally published in the SURVIVOR’S EDGE ™ Winter 2015 issue. Subscription is available in print and digital editions here.

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