With large scale mobile generators, most safety precautions generally center around cable runs and wiring. The generator is rather remote from workers and other personnel and any exhaust safety issues are resolved because the units are outside and some distance from the outlets, usually because of noise.
Portable Generator Carbon Monoxide Deaths
Home generators however represent a distinct danger to the user. Two of the components that are the biproducts of burning fuels is carbon monoxide (CO) and carbon dioxide (CO2). CO is odorless, tasteless and transparent, it cannot be detected by the eye. CO binds to the hemoglobin blocking the uptake of oxygen. The victim of CO poisoning suffocates. Fetal hemoglobin is highly susceptible to CO poisoning and readily binds to CO, reducing the oxygen to the brain. The central nervous system is very vulnerable to CO and long-term exposure can permanently destroy vital organs like heart, brain, central nervous system and cause long term effects of the metabolism of an organism. Carbon monoxide is concentrated in smoking cigarettes and why smoking affects the fetus. A fetus can die while the mother survives. Smoking, depriving the fetus of oxygen affecting the development of the internal organs. Those who suffer cardio related diseases and pulmonary related disorders are sensitive to organ damage, long term debilities and possible death. Outside air normally contains about 0.2 parts per million CO. Amnesia, loss of muscle and bladder control, memory loss, personality disorders and impaired vision are the primary symptoms. Many effects are long term.
How Many Feet Should a Portable Home Generator Be from the House?
Never run a generator in a building or by doors and windows. Invest in a carbon monoxide meter. Do not operate in the garage and never by windows. It is recommended to keep portable generators at least 15 feet away from structures. CO is slightly lighter than air and readily intersperses with the air. During emergency events (hurricanes, flooding and earthquakes) the incidents of CO poisoning due to space heaters and generators run indoors increase dramatically. With impaired emergency response during these events CO poisoning for many proves fatal. Keep generators outdoors, away from window and doors and well vented to prevent CO from seepage into the home. Air is mostly nitrogen, 78%, oxygen 21% and argon and about 1% trace elements. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) constitutes about 93.5% of those trace elements. CO2 is heavier that air and is a major component of the photosynthesis process of plants, at high concentrations is smells acidic. At 10% CO2 or more death, unconsciousness or convulsions are experienced. Rebreathers (diving equipment), submarines and manned space vehicles have CO2 scrubbers (containing CO2 absorbing chemicals) to remove CO2 and reduce levels to a healthy percentage. Carbon dioxide is an asphyxiant, and blocks oxygen. It is used in fire extinguishers. Just as fire and flame cannot exist without an oxidizer, neither can the body function without oxygen.
Enclosed Clean Diesel Generators
The twin gases CO and CO2 are the primary health concerns when burning fuels in heaters and engines. CO2 stimulates similar physiological responses from the body, but CO is the most common killer. CO levels rise much faster than CO2 levels representing they primary health risk. Of course, other concerns are cords running through puddles, cord damage due to vehicular or pedestrian traffic. But in the US the primary killer are the toxic gas brothers, CO and CO2. Environmental Power Solutions offers clean diesel generators for rent, lease or sale. Contact us to learn more about our safety recommendations and protocols.