Burn Center Offers Safety Advice For People Operating Generators

STATE — The Burn Center at Saint Barnabas Medical Center, the only certified burn center in New Jersey, has seen an increase in census as a result of Hurricane Sandy. On an average day, it admits one or two patients into the Burn Intensive Care Unit. That has increased to three or four per day after the storm as a result of generator misuse, carelessness around gasoline canisters and using grills indoors.

In hopes of preventing injuries, the Burn Center At Saint Barnabas offers these tips:


  • Always read manufactures instructions on any generator and follow them completely. They explain how to run the equipment safely including
    • Safety precaution
    • How to run unit appropriately
    • How to cool the unit off
    • How to fuel safely
    • What extension cords to be used safely
  • Gasoline generators produce carbon monoxide. They must be used outside, never inside, including in the garage, even with doors and windows open. The build up of carbon monoxide gas is odorless, tasteless with no fumes to alert us. The build up of CO in a garage requires a fire department fan and equipment to remove. Open windows and doors will not be effective.
  • Always use generators outside, away from doors and windows
  • Do not leave gasoline can next to generator
  • Monitor generator frequently
  • Always have a battery operated CO detector when using a generator, even if the generator is outside. Any change in wind could potentially send fumes back into your house via any open window/door.
  • When filling a generator, make sure to allow the unit cooling time before restarting. Gasoline is extremely flammable. Check your manufacturer’s recommendations regarding cooling time.
  • Never place generator near combustibles, i.e. wood, housing, furniture, clothing, or gasoline can
  • Never plug a generator directly into home outlets. Only use manufacturer’s recommended heavy duty extensions cords.
  • Generators should be treated as you would any electrical appliance, in terms of water. Make sure you are not standing in water when using.

Use of gasoline

  • Make sure it is stored in a UL approved container
  • Transport gasoline secured in vehicle to avoid spillage.
  • NO SMOKING near any gasoline or gas cans. Fumes are flammable.
  • When pouring gasoline make certain that there is no spillage on side of container or around your work area.

Never heat your home with a gas oven. Heating is not approved by manufactures as gas produces carbon monoxide. Also, many times the oven door is left open an inch or so to allow the heat to permeate the room. This leaves the potential for fires because of combustible materials in a kitchen.

Use caution when using boiling water for bathing especially with and around small children. Always check the bathtub temperature with your elbow/hand to ensure water is of safe temperature.


  • More than half of all candle fires start when something that could burn, such as furniture, mattresses or bedding, curtains, or decorations is too close to the candle
  • The risk of fatal candle fires appears higher when candles are used for light
  • Consider using battery-operated flameless candles, which can look, smell and fell like real candles
  • If you do use candles, ensure they are in sturdy metal, glass or ceramic holders and placed where they cannot be easily knocked down.
  • Keep candles at least 12 inches from anything that can burn.
  • Never use a candle where medical oxygen is being used. The two can combine to create a large, unexpected fire.
  • Always use a flashlight – not a candle – for emergency lighting.
  • Extinguish candles after use and before going to bed.
  • And never leave burning candles unattended!

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