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Five Katrina Deaths Linked to Improper Use of Electricity Generators

At least five deaths have been linked to improper use of portable electricity generators in areas hit by Hurricane Katrina, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Dozens of other people have been injured after inhaling carbon monoxide from generators, said commission spokeswoman Patty Davis.

In at least several of the deaths, people were using generators indoors after an electricity outage.

Most portable generators run on gasoline, Davis said, and the odorless carbon-monoxide exhaust can be deadly.

"Putting a portable generator inside your house is like havinuse they don't want them to be stolen.

"It's better to have your generator stolen than to die from carbon monoxide poisoning," she said. "Don't take that chance."

Three of the deaths linked to portable generators were in Florida, and two were in Louisiana.

Other post-storm recommendations from the CPSC:

—Use heavy-duty, outdoor extension cords with generators, rather than plugging in appliances directly.

—Make sure extension cords have all three prongs, including a grounding pin.

—Don't store gasoline inside a home or near a fuel-burning appliance.

—Test batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.

—Use flashlights instead of candles. If candles must be used, don't leave them unattended.