Union County, NJ – With more than 11,000 JCP&L customers facing a continued power outage in Union County through the weekend, the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders is urging residents to exercise extreme caution when using generators, candles and other alternative power sources.
According to the New Jersey Poison Information and Educational System, several New Jersey residents were recently hospitalized for carbon monoxide exposure from gas generators used after the storm of March 2.
“Gas is portrayed as a cleaner fuel, but it is important to recognize that both gas and diesel generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning when used improperly, resulting in serious illness or death,” said Freeholder Chairman Sergio Granados.
Earlier today Chairman Granados issued a statement supporting Governor Murphy’s call for an investigation into JCP&L for its slow response to the storms of March 2 and March 7. Granados also urged that the investigation include the company’s parent, FirstEnergy.
As of Friday morning, March 9, 11,888 JCP&L customers in Union County were still without power, including some who lost power during the March 2 storm.
“The latest word we have from JCP&L is that power will not be fully restored until next Wednesday, and that is completely unacceptable,” said Granados. “Every day this outage lasts, thousands of JCP&L customers in Union County are exposed to increased risks as they seek light and heat for their homes.”
Carbon monoxide is a gas that gives no warning. It cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can easily be confused with symptoms of common colds or the flu.
“If you suspect CO poisoning, handle it as a medical emergency,” said Granados. “Call 911 immediately and let the responders know about any generators or alternative fuel sources in or near your home.”
County residents and businesses using generators are urged to review the manufacturer’s warnings and safety instruction. These include:
- Never place generators indoors. That includes basements, garages and sheds as well as homes and other buildings.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for positioning your generator outdoors. Generally that means at least 20 feet away from your building and any adjacent building.
Residents are also urged to exercise extreme caution when using candles and fireplaces, and never use gas stovetops for heat.
Residents using fireplaces should obtain firewood from a reliable source. Burning painted wood, treated lumber or certain types of wood can result in poisonous fumes.
Additional safety tips from the US Centers for Disease Control: cdc.gov/co/guidelines.
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