Local government ministries have expressed concern for the British Virgin Islands following reports that seven persons in the neighbouring USVI were hospitalized because of generator usage.
USVI media reported that those persons suffered from carbon monoxide poising from generator exhaust.
Like the USVI, several residents are powering their homes with portable generators as the BVI scrambles to restore its hurricane-damaged electricity grid.
While noting how ‘popular’ household generators have become, Acting Deputy Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Communication and Works, Andrew St Hilaire said generators can cause death if not operated properly.
“Do not use the generator inside the house or inside an enclosed space because it lets off in the exhaust carbon monoxide which is odourless and colourless. You cannot smell it and you cannot see it but you will be dead,” said St Hilaire.
“We are concerned for the safe use of these generators… so we want people to just keep them outside. Nothing is going to happen to the generator if it gets a little rain on it. It’s designed for that,” he added
St Hilaire also warned residents against connecting generators to the electrical system in their homes.
“Some people tend to want to wire them into their house and power their whole house. That is not safe and it is not correct. That is not the intended use of a portable generator.”
Meanwhile, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Petrona Davies also joined the call for generator-users to exercise safety.
“It’s important for persons to be aware of the danger and to take precautions – first educate themselves and then their families as to how to remain safe when operating generators,” she said
Below are generator safety tips issued by the BVI Electricity Corporation: