Stay well in the wet

People using generators, or pumping out homes damaged by recent floods, need to take simple steps to stay well in the wet, Lawrence Slade of CO – Be Alarmed! said today. Mr Slade said the carbon monoxide (CO) in the exhaust fumes from power generators and water pumps using petrol or diesel could be fatal if inhaled.

Mr Slade said:

“We know it is horrible and can take an age to clear up after a flood or during a power-cut. Everyone wants to get back to normal as soon as possible but there are things more important than bricks and mortar and it pays to take a few simple precautions to stay well in the wet.  It can be very tempting to put a generator in the garage or to use a pump just to get the water out of the house but using petrol and diesel devices in enclosed spaces can risk a build-up of toxic gas. So, check before you use! Read the instructions. Only use pumps and generators in a well-ventilated outdoor space. And, if you are at all unsure about how a generator, pump or any other fuel burning appliance works, contact the manufacturer to check you are running it safely.”

Carbon monoxide has no smell, taste or colour, meaning it is easily inhaled without a victim realising. It can kill you or cause lasting damage to your health, including permanent brain damage. It is likely many victims go unrecognised because the early symptoms can easily be mistaken for common illnesses such as flu or food poisoning.

If you are worried that you may have been the victim of CO poisoning turn off all fuel burning appliances, including boilers and cookers, open the windows and call a doctor. You can also call the Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111999 for immediate help and advice.

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