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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Generating Concerns: Kingsbury Urges Caution

By James Lomuscio

There are been three incidents of generator caused carbon monoxide buildups in Westport since Sunday, one so severe that two children had to be hospitalized, Fire Chief Andrew Kingsbury said today.

Kingsbury, the town’s emergency management director, cautioned the 23 percent of townspeople still without power following Hurricane Irene to be extra careful when using generators, particularly portable ones that have not been professionally installed.

“Be very careful and make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working because those that are wired may not be with the power down,” he said. “If they need assistance, we can provide it with metering in a nonemergency mode. That means we won’t be arriving with sirens blaring.”

Kingsbury stressed that homeowners should never run generators in a house, a basement or garage even if the door is open. Operating a generator outside but close to one’s home is no guarantee against a carbon monoxide buildup either, he said.

“You could just need a strong wind and a window cracked, and you can get a buildup,” he said.

Kingsbury also cautioned residents not to attempt to rig their generators to the home’s main circuits “to backfeed the power system.” Some attempt this to to get their whole home powered, he said, including refrigerators, HVAC systems, washers and dryers.

“You can potentially shock a worker,” he warned.

In fact, Kingsbury stressed, those who fiddle with generators actually cause delays in power restoration. He said Connecticut Light and Power workers are extra cautious and take more time when working in areas they hear generators running.Before they even attempt to repair downed wires, Kingsbury said, “they will ask them to turn it off.”

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Posted 08/31/11 at 11:44 PM  Permalink



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