The storm outside is bad, the wind is howling and suddenly your power goes out. Thankfully, you have a gasoline-powered generator. However, will you use it safely?
Surprisingly, most carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths and illnesses occur during the winter, the majority due to improper use of gas generators. These generators can cause CO— an odorless, colorless gas — to build up in your home, poisoning those inside. Don’t become a statistic.
Using a gasoline-powered generator safely can be as easy as 1-2-3:
- NEVER use a generator INSIDE your home or garage, even if doors and windows are open.
- USE generators and any gas-powered equipment OUTSIDE, at least 20 feet away from doors, windows and vents.
- INSTALL a battery-operated CO DETECTOR in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide. Be sure to change the batteries in the spring and fall. (Helpful hint: Change them when you move your clocks ahead and back.)
- For a full list of generator safety tips, click here.
- For additional CO safety tips, click here.
What are the signs of CO poisoning?
Even by following these guidelines, incidents can occur. That’s why it’s important to know the signs of CO poisoning:
- Headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
- If you suspect CO poisoning, get to fresh air right away and immediately call 9-1-1. Do not reenter the area until it is deemed safe by emergency responders.
So the next time you pull out a gasoline-powered generator, keep these tips in mind. It could save a life.