Fatal Attraction: Home Generators Used to Power Video Games

After a hurricane passes through, you might think that video games would be the last thing on the minds of people in the affected area.

You’d be wrong.

medpage TODAY reports that carbon monoxide poisoning caused by gasoline-fueled portable generators is a fairly common occurence following hurricanes. A surprising number of such incidents involve generators used to power video game systems:

Of 12 separate poisoning incidents in the Houston area in the wake of Hurricane Ike, which left two million people without power in September 2008, five resulted from the use of generators for video games, Caroline Fife, M.D., of the University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston, and colleagues reported.

Overall, 21 children and 17 adults were poisoned. A three-year-old died, and the others had symptoms ranging from nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and headache to chest pain, loss of consciousness, and coma, the researchers reported in the June issue of Pediatrics.

"This is the first study to suggest that generators are commonly used immediately after a large-scale power outage to power entertainment electronics for children," they said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission told medpage TODAY:

Operating a generator inside your home produces poisonous levels of carbon monoxide equal to that of hundreds of cars running inside your home.

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  1. 0
    Wormdundee says:

    Survival of the fittest in action. You have to be some sort of dumbass to not realize that containing the fumes from burning gasoline inside your house is probably bad for you. It’s just like sucking the tailpipe of a car people!

  2. 0
    Lou says:

    Not a big fan of portable generators to power a house after a hurricane. That’s why I saved my money and got a stationary generator that runs on natural gas. I have a portable generator but it’s mostly to use it when I take my family out on camping trips. And besides why would you use a freaking generator indoors?! Like some of the readers said "natural selection"

  3. 0
    Kajex says:

    No kidding- if you’re waiting THAT long for power to return after something that damaging, you’re probably busy around the house, boarding up windows, getting debris out of the way, and contacting neighbors and family to direct restoration efforts.

  4. 0
    Bill says:

    A person running a generator inside after a hurricane has nothing to do with games.  They just aren’t reading the directions for proper use of a generator.

      Look I have been though at least 3 major hurricanes and for many people all it means is that their lights will be out for a week.  Some have no home damage other than loss of power.  So, people buy generators to run the fridge, maybe a window unit AC and, yes, the television.  It’s not a huge stretch to think that the bored kids in the house will turn on a game system while they wait for power to be restored.  But it’s not like someone said "shit, I can’t play my games, I should get a generator."

  5. 0
    CMiner says:

    I was at college when Hurricane Katrina hit, close enough to the coast that we lost power for a few days.  My friends and I wandered around the the campus, bored, until one of them discovered at his dorm that there was a single outlet in the stairwell that actually ran off of the emergency generators on campus.  Within 15 minutes we had 3 XBoxes, 3 TVs and two dozen people crammed in that stairwell.  Fun times.

  6. 0
    zel says:

    Dang, they should include 100ft extension cables with them things, maybe then people would be inclined to put em OUTSIDE O.o  or maybe stick catalytic converters on em or something. Then it would be massive amounts of carbon dioxide :/


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