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December 13 • 06:06 AM
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Stay safe during storm season



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August 09, 2017
Although the height of the tornado season is behind us—the peak in Michigan is in July—the possibility of severe storms remains as the summer winds down into fall. Changes in the atmosphere, clashes of hot air and cold air masses continue to increase the chances of violent storms that can down power lines and create problems for homeowners.

Unfortunately, following last week's severe storms that hit the Lapeer County area, a power outage led to the untimely death of a 73-year-old county resident. A generator was running in a closed, attached garage at his residence, which resulted in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Whenever power outages occur, it's common for people to pull out generators to keep sump pumps, refrigerators, and when applicable furnaces going. While this helps ease discomfort and prevent loss, generators can pose a danger if not used properly.

The American Red Cross has issued the following safety tips to help prevent a tragedy during already trying times:

•If you have any questions, hesitations or concerns about using a generator, ask an electrician for assistance.

•To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure, such as under a tarp held up on poles. Do not touch the generator with wet hands.

•Be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

•Never use a generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.

•Keep these devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.

•Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. Although CO can't be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY—DO NOT DELAY.

•Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

•Test the batteries frequently and replace when needed.

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