Generators, especially the small blue “I-better-pass-my-neighbour sets” have fast become home staples (almost every home has a generator), necessary equipment in our society, though largely restricted to urban areas. But we have overlooked the possible dangers in a bid to survive our inconstant power supply.
People die every year on account of generator use. I am pretty certain you’ve heard of whole families burned or smoked to death because a generator was improperly used. It got so bad that the then president considered banning these small generators since they happen to be the culprits in many instances of these horrific deaths.
Here are some reasons why your generator may not be safe:
This contains a deadly gas named Carbon monoxide (CO). It is dangerous because of its features – does not have a smell, cannot be seen and pretends to be friendly until it displaces oxygen from its normal position in the body.
CO can reduce grown men to lifeless bodies, talk less of children; it is called the ‘silent killer’. Features of CO poisoning are usually subtle, they can include dull headaches, dizziness, weakness, nausea and /or vomiting, shortness of breath. The person affected might also be confused, complain of blurry vision or become unconscious.
Damage to the nervous system could follow if not promptly treated and then disability if the person survives as the brain can not survive long without oxygen. Prolonged exposure to CO leads to increased risk of brain damage (poor memory, visual problems, inability to concentrate and others), heart disease and puts unborn babies at risk of poor development, death at birth (stillbirth) and behavioural problems when they get older.
Assuming you’ve placed your generator set as far from your windows and doors as possible, there is still the risk of being set on fire when you handle it wrongly – for example, using adulterated fuel, refuelling while the generator is still on or smoking while handling it.
These could happen when the set is handled with wet hands or in the rain or in any other wet condition as it can also happen with direct power supply from PHCN under similar conditions. We can also put PHCN officials at risk of electrocution when we make wrong connections or fail to get a proper power switch.
Noise from generators, especially several generators at once is usually very high (the quiet ones happen to be quite expensive). It is associated with stress, increased rates of accidents, aggression and other anti-social behaviours. Regular, long-term exposure to high levels of noise puts us at risk of hearing loss, hypertension and its attendant complications.
So we made a list of do’s and don’ts for generator use with the hope that we can work together to make the best of our present situation and this would be published in the coming weeks.
Please feel free to SHARE your experiences with generators and any difficulty you may have in using them safely, and importantly, what steps you have taken to ensure safety while using a generator.