Tropical and Hurricane Safety Considerations Everyone Should Know

Last weekend, Tropical Storm Kay brought torrential rain, flooding and strong winds to parts of southern California and southwestern Arizona.

The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the national government agency tasked with protecting the public from unreasonable injury to consumer products and death, has reminded Americans that extreme weather conditions put people at risk of blackouts and carbon monoxide poisoning. and fire and electric shock.

With hurricane season running over the Gulf and Atlantic coast from June 1 to November 30, according to current National Weather Service (NWS) forecasts, families still have time to review tropical storm risks and prepare for worst-case scenarios.

But they should do it sooner if they haven’t already.

Here are the safety precautions the CPSC and NWS want Americans to keep in mind for any future storms.

Learn how to use the generator

Each year, 85 American consumers die from generator-related carbon monoxide poisoning each year, according to CPSC estimates.

The CPSC warns that carbon monoxide poisoning from portable gasoline-powered generators “can kill in minutes” because the gas is “colorless and odorless.”

People exposed to carbon monoxide can pass out before they recognize common poisoning symptoms such as nausea, dizziness or weakness, according to the CPSC.

Electrical generator
Learn how to use the generator and make sure everything is working properly.
Corbis via Getty Images

The CPSC said portable generators should never be run inside the home, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed or porch — and should instead be placed outside at least 20 feet from the home.

“Opening doors or windows will not provide adequate ventilation to prevent the buildup of lethal levels of carbon dioxide,” the CPSC explained.

Generator Exhaust [should be kept] Away from the house and any other buildings anyone can enter, keeping windows and other openings closed to the generator’s exhaust path.”

Generator owners and aspiring owners should review in-depth safety materials, follow up with machine maintenance according to the manufacturer’s instructions, and look for models with carbon monoxide detectors with automatic shut-off technology, according to the CPSC.

Double check your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms

Whether the family owns a generator or not, the CPSC said families should have battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms installed inside their homes.

Detectors and alarms with built-in battery backups are also worth considering, according to the CPSC.

For optimum safety, the CPSC said carbon monoxide detectors should be installed at every level of the home and placed outside separate bedrooms — while smoke alarms should be installed on every floor of the house and placed within each bedroom.

Warning
Make sure your Co2 and smoke alarms are working properly.
Gado via Getty Images

The CPSC said families should test carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms monthly to ensure they are working and have adequate battery life long before the storm arrives.

The committee added: “Do not ignore any alarm when it beeps.”

“Get out immediately. Then call 911.”

Be careful with flammable materials

In the event of a loss of power from a tropical storm or hurricane, some families may turn to flammable materials, such as charcoal or candles, to take on household chores.

However, coal must Start It is burned indoors because it “can produce lethal levels of [carbon monoxide]CPSC warned.

As with generators, charcoal grills should not be used in garages or enclosed spaces, even when the door is left open, the CPSC says.

The Consumer Safety Agency has also warned that candles should be used with caution.

candles.
Be sure to keep an eye on the candles when lit and never leave them unattended.
NurPhoto via Getty Images

“If using candles, do not burn them over or near anything that could catch fire,” the CPSC said.

“Never leave burning candles unattended. Put out candles when leaving the room and before bed.”

The CPSC recommends using light bulbs over candles if both are available in the home.

Stay away from wet devices

The commission said that since tropical storms and hurricanes are known to cause flooding, people should watch out for wet devices.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission warned, “Do not touch wet appliances that are still connected to an electrical source.”

In the event of a flood, families should have a professional or a gas or electric company perform a safety check on household appliances before resuming use, the CPSC noted.

“Replace all gas control valves, electrical wiring, circuit breakers and underwater valves,” the CPSC said.

Watch out for gas leaks

The center warned that gas leaks could also occur during a tropical storm or hurricane.

If a gas leak is suspected, smelled or heard, families should leave their homes immediately.

“Contact local gas authorities from outside the home,” the agency said. “Do not turn on any electronic devices, such as lights or a phone, before you leave.”

National Weather Service: Tropical Storm and Hurricane Safety Tips

Families can and should take safety precautions before a tropical storm or hurricane arrives, according to the National Weather Service.

The agency’s Storm Safety Guide said people who live near the Gulf or Atlantic coasts should know where the nearest storm evacuation area is.

This information can be found on local government websites and emergency management resources or offices.

“Emergency bags” filled with “essential emergency” supplies must be packed before the storm arrives, according to the NWS.

The agency recommends packing the “Essential Disaster Supplies” listed on the US Department of Homeland Security’s Ready.gov website.

These items include water (one gallon per person), non-perishable foods, battery-powered radios or hand-cranks, flashlights, a first aid kit, and extra battery packs.

Other essential disaster Ready.gov supplies include a whistle for a signal for help, dust masks to filter polluted air, plastic sheeting and duct tape for shelter in place, sanitation materials (wet towels, trash bags, plastic tie-downs), and a wrench or pliers to turn off Operating utilities, manual can opener, local maps and mobile phone with chargers.

The NWS Guide also recommends that people consider sourcing materials to fortify their homes, such as wood paneling for interior windows.

The NWS said homeowners should also keep trees trimmed, bring loose outdoor furniture indoors, secure all doors and move cars to garages or another safe location.

The NWS said emergency and disaster evacuation plans should already be ready and reviewed with the family before the storm approaches.

Written copies of the plans can be packed into bags, according to the agency’s Storm Guide.

Storm forecasts and updates can be found through local TV news stations, cell phones, radio broadcasts, social media, and Weather.gov, according to the NWS.

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