The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission warns consumers on the Gulf Coast and in other disaster areas to protect themselves and their families against dangers in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and resulting storms.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) warns consumers on the Gulf Coast and in other disaster areas to protect themselves and their families against dangers in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike and resulting storms.

Portable gasoline generators quickly produce high levels of poisonous carbon monoxide (CO) and should never be used indoors, including inside a home, basement, shed or garage, even if doors or windows are open. CO is an invisible killer. It's a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. CO from a generator used indoors can kill you and your family in minutes.

"Heeding this warning can mean the difference between life and death," said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. "Consumers should use portable generators outside only, far from windows, doors and vents to their homes."

CPSC issued these additional safety tips for consumers in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike:
  • Read the label on the generator and the owner's manual, and follow the instructions.

  • Install CO alarms with battery backup in the home outside each sleeping area.

  • Get to fresh air immediately if you start to feel sick, weak or dizzy. CO poisoning from exposure to generator exhaust can quickly lead to incapacitation and death.

  • Never use charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal in an enclosed space can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

  • Use caution when burning candles. Use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.

  • Look for signs that your appliances have gotten wet. Discard electrical or gas appliances that have been wet because they pose electric shock and fire hazards.

  • Before using your appliances, have a professional or your gas or electric company evaluate your home and replace all gas control valves, electrical wiring, circuit breakers and fuses that have been under water.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of serious injury or death from more than 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. For more information, visit CPSC's Web site at www.cpsc.gov.