Generator Safety: Using Gas-Powered Generators Safely and Responsibly

Generator Safety: Using Gas-Powered Generators Safely and Responsibly
Image: NCCC
January 18, 2016

Winter weather and extreme cold are sweeping across the country. With this extreme weather often comes high winds, frozen precipitation and other factors that could lead to power outages.

If you lose power, a portable gas generator can help to temporarily restore heat and electricity to your home. This being said, generators should always be used with extreme caution.

Do not take unnecessary risks with your generator. If not used incorrectly, a generator can be deadly. Its invisible odorless carbon monoxide (CO) exhaust can kill you and your family in just minutes. CO is called the "invisible killer," because you can't see, smell or taste it.

According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), 739 deaths occurred in the U.S. that were directly linked to gas-powered generators between 1999 and 2012.

Always take the proper safety precautions when using a generator:

  • Read and pay close attention to all safety instructions prior to using your generator.
  • Make sure that your generator is OUTSIDE! Keep it at least 20 feet away from windows and doors.
  • Do NOT put generators in garages or basements. An open door does NOT provide enough ventilation to save you from deadly carbon monoxide gas.
  • When you use a generator, be sure to have working carbon monoxide alarms in your home. (Note: You should do this anyway.)
  • Know the initial symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms, get outside into fresh air quickly and call 911 immediately.

Find out more about carbon monoxide and heating your home safely this winter.