As we enter Hurricane Season 2009 and the emphasis shifts to disaster planning, including warnings about the dangers of generators, who would of thought we would be placing a warning on video gaming?

The dangers of using generators without proper ventilation is covered extensively throughout the hurricane season as massive power failures become more likely. Generators used without proper ventilation can kill in a matter of minutes. All generators produced after May 14, 2007 are required to carry just such a warning.

During Hurricane Ike, two million people were left without power resulting in 12 separate carbon monoxide poisoning incidents. We would logically assume that generators were powered up to provide emergency lighting, refrigeration and other necessities.

However, according to an article in the June issue of Pediatrics by Caroline Fife, M.D., of the University of Texas Science Center in Houston and her colleagues, five of these incidents were the result of powering up generators in order to play video games. 21 children and 17 adults were poisoned, and one 3-year-old died.

“This is the first study to suggest that generators are commonly used immediately after a large-scale power outage to power entertainment electronics for children,” they said.

It is recommended that generators be placed at least 50 feet from a house and should not be operated in the house or garage in any circumstances. This is a good time to weatherize your generator so it can be operated safely outdoors, install a catalytic converter and carbon monoxide monitors. If you are concerned about theft or noise, the CPSC is considering these problems and hopefully solutions will soon be in the works.

Please use common sense when operating a generator and put the safety and health of children first. The video games can wait.

http://www.medpagetoday.com/PublicHealthPolicy/PublicHealth/14360

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