Using Generators for Pumping Out Flood Water Safely
Petrol or diesel fuelled generators used to power water pumps or other flood recovery devices such as dehumidifiers or fans, which can be used following flooding will give off a variety of toxic gases including carbon monoxide fumes. These fumes can overcome people in the building or near vicinity if used in an enclosed space.
Area Commander Jon Pryce, Head of Operations for Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Whilst we completely understand that people will want to remove floodwater from their properties, pumps and other machinery powered by petrol or diesel are designed for outdoor use. This is because they emit hazardous carbon monoxide fumes. We would urge people not to use them inside buildings or in areas without adequate ventilation.”
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure:
- The signs or symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure copy many common illnesses and can easily be confused with flu or simple tiredness.
- At low levels, carbon monoxide exposure may cause poor concentration, memory and vision problems, and loss of muscle coordination and can have an accumulative effect poisoning the individual over a period of hours or even days.
- At higher levels, it may cause headaches, fatigue, vomiting and nausea. At very high levels, the symptoms intensify and it can prove fatal within a matter of hours.
- As a precaution we recommend the use of battery powered carbon monoxide detectors which look similar to smoke detectors and can be easily purchased and fitted by anyone.