WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 1 marks the start of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is warning consumers about the increased risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, fires and electric shock after hurricanes and severe storms hit.
“Hurricanes and major storms in the U.S. have increased in frequency and severity in recent years. This hurricane season may bring widespread destruction that could impact millions of Americans,” said CPSC Chair Alex Hoehn-Saric. “I urge consumers to follow CPSC’s safety tips to prepare ahead of storms to prevent loss of life in a storm’s aftermath.”
Consumers need to be especially careful when storms knock out electrical power. CO poisoning from gasoline-powered portable generators can kill in minutes. CO is called the invisible killer because it is colorless and odorless. CO poisoning from portable generators can happen so quickly that exposed persons may become unconscious before recognizing the symptoms of nausea, dizziness or weakness.
An average of nearly 100 consumers die in the U.S. each year from CO poisoning from portable generators, according to CPSC’s latest report on Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products.
CPSC data show African Americans are at higher risk of death
An earlier CPSC report shows that from 2011 through 2021, where race was known, non-Hispanic Black or African Americans accounted for 23 percent of generator-related CO deaths, which is much higher than their share in the U.S. population.
Consumers should follow these safety tips to protect their families during hurricane season. The Atlantic hurricane season typically lasts from the beginning of June to the end of November.
Loss of Power—Using a Generator Safely
Check CO and Smoke Alarms
Dangers with Charcoal and Candles
Dangers with Wet Appliances:
Dangers with Gas Leaks:
PSA – Hurricane Safety Tips (English)
PSA – Hurricane Safety Tips (Spanish)
Link to broadcast quality video for media:
Hurricane B-Roll - https://spaces.hightail.com/space/XtFQ7YqK0x
CPSC spokespeople are available for interviews. Email [email protected] or call 240-204-4410 to arrange for an interview.
Individual Commissioners may have statements related to this topic. Please visit www.cpsc.gov/commissioners to search for statements related to this or other topics.
About the U.S. CPSC
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risk of injury or death associated with the use of thousands of types of consumer products. Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product-related incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products has contributed to a decline in the rate of injuries associated with consumer products over the past 50 years.
Federal law prohibits any person from selling products subject to a Commission ordered recall or a voluntary recall undertaken in consultation with the CPSC.
For lifesaving information:
- Visit CPSC.gov.
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- Report a dangerous product or a product-related injury on www.SaferProducts.gov.
- Call CPSC’s Hotline at 800-638-2772 (TTY 301-595-7054).
- Contact a media specialist.