Portable Generators: 3 Critical Precautions to Take So You Don’t Die from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning deaths, caused by portable generators reportedly being used inside homes and/or garages, have been reported in Florida in recent days. In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, there are widespread power outages. CPSC is warning consumers to take three critical precautions to prevent loss of life from poisonous carbon monoxide when using a portable generator:

1. NEVER use a portable generator inside your home. One portable generator can emit the same amount of deadly carbon monoxide gas as hundreds of mid-size cars. Just as you would not leave a car running in a closed garage, do not run a generator inside a garage, home, shed or near open windows or vents.

2. Portable generators need air and distance. Place generators OUTDOORS ONLY, at least 20 feet away from your home.

3. Carbon monoxide is called the “invisible killer.” This deadly gas is colorless and odorless and can quickly incapacitate and kill you and your family in minutes. A working CO alarm can detect high levels of the gas in your home. If it goes off, do not ignore it. Get out! Then call 911.

Learn more in CPSC’s CO Safety Education Center.

Additional CO safety education materials are available for download on CPSC.gov.

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