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October 31, 2012
State Fire Marshal J. William Degnan
(603) 223-4289

State Fire Marshal Requests Continued Vigilance

Now that Hurricane Sandy has passed, there are continued safety concerns from State Fire Marshal Bill Degnan. The use of portable generators by those citizens that are still without power increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. As the power outage lingers, citizens often get lulled into a sense of complacency which can be lethal.

Unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning kills and injures people across the nation and New Hampshire each year. "Generators are one of the most common source of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in New Hampshire", warned State Fire Marshal Bill Degnan, "but carbon monoxide can also be a problem with temporary cooking appliances or space heaters, motor vehicles left running in attached garages or adjacent to a building, generators used during power outages or any other type of fuel burning appliance.

Despite previous warnings, the NH State Fire Marshal's Office continues to receive reports of generators being operated inside of garages and on decks. Recently 911 received a call for a generator fire inside a garage in Atkinson. Another call was received for generator fire on a deck in Swanzey. Degnan encourages the local officials to be actively checking on generator use in their communities, "If the local officials hear a generator running, they should check it out to make sure it is harmful to the occupants."

Running a generator inside a building such as a garage or basement will cause the deadly build up of Carbon Monoxide. Running a generator inside a garage with the garage door open does not eliminate the risk and should also be avoided. Carbon Monoxide is the silent killer. You cannot see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, but it can cause severe health problems or death. It is important that everyone have carbon monoxide detectors where they sleep."

Degnan states that it is critical that every home has at least one smoke detector on each floor level and they are interconnected. Fire Marshal Degnan emphasizes that "every family should develop and practice a home fire escape plan. Smoke detectors should be tested monthly, and matches and lighters should be kept out of the reach of children at all times."

For further information concerning home fire safety, contact your local fire department or the State Fire Marshal's Office.

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