Laurentian Public Health warns of carbon monoxide hazards from generators

Advisory also issued about consuming food after six hours without refrigeration

Following the numerous electric power blackouts that swept the Laurentian region after major rain and wind storms, the public health director at CISSS des Laurentides has issued a reminder of the various risks attached to operating gasoline-fueled electric generators.

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas which is invisible and odorless. Carbon monoxide poisoning can leave permanent damage or can even cause death. Only a carbon monoxide detector can alert you to the presence of this dangerous gas.

Never indoors

The public health office is warning that appliances which operate on fuels such as natural gas, gasoline, propane etc., and which include hotplates, heaters or barbecues, should never be used inside a dwelling.

As well, electric power generators should never be installed and operated inside a dwelling or even from inside a garage, and they should be run at a considerable distance from the nearest doors or windows because exhaust fumes containing carbon monoxide can accumulate and enter a residence without your being aware of it.

Carbon monoxide detector

In these times when gas operated generators are being used frequently by many people in the Laurentians, the best way to protect against this type of hazard is to be equipped with a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector and alarm which will remain activated even during power blackouts.

In addition, it should be noted that smoke detectors are not equipped to detect carbon monoxide and cannot protect you should carbon monoxide build up in significant concentrations in your dwelling.

Beware food spoilage

The Laurentian region’s public health office is warning at the same time that the freshness and safety of foods requiring refrigeration or which need to be kept frozen can become compromised during electric power outages lasting more than six hours.

It is recommended that you take no risks and that you not consume food products which may have been spoiled, in order to avoid coming down with poisoning from foodborne bacterial pathogens.