WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bill Cassidy, M.D. (R-LA) today introduced the Safe Generators Save Lives Act to save lives in the wake of hurricanes and other disasters that disrupt power and necessitate the use of portable generators. Carbon monoxide (CO) deaths caused by insufficient ventilation during the use of portable generators accounted for the majority of Hurricane Laura deaths in 2020 and 20 percent of deaths in Louisiana during Hurricane Ida. Cassidy’s legislation would require new portable generators include automatic shutoffs for when CO levels around generators reach dangerous levels, possess power cords of at least 30-feet to allow generators to be placed further from the home, and have clear markings indicating the direction of exhaust ports.
“When you lose electricity, you need a generator if you are going to live. That’s true whether it’s a hurricane, like Laura, an ice storm as we had during the winter, or now, Hurricane Ida. But if you don’t use it safely, you’re more likely to die from carbon monoxide poisoning than from the event that took out your electricity—that’s what happened after Hurricane Laura. I’m introducing a bill which will increase the safety in the use of these generators. It’s part of our preparation. It’s part of resiliency. It’s what we must do to be prepared,” said Dr. Cassidy.