With Hurricanes Come Portable Generators and Carbon Monoxide

By Jeremy Morris, Associate Editor, US Daily Review.

In preparation of the upcoming storm season, Briggs & Stratton reminds residents to be mindful of the dangers of carbon monoxide while operating portable generators.

“Portable generators are designed to thrive during storm season, when it’s more likely power outages will abruptly put families in the dark,” said Eric Loferski, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton Portable Power. “But generators can be dangerous if not operated properly.”

Portable generators are powered by small engines that emit potentially-harmful carbon monoxide gases. If carbon monoxide is not allowed to exhaust from the engine in a safe manner, harmful effects — even death — can occur in a matter of minutes.

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it is tasteless, colorless and odorless. Even if exhaust fumes cannot be detected, carbon monoxide could still be present.

The best way to operate a portable generator and safely control carbon monoxide gases is to read and follow the operator’s manual before starting the generator. Other steps to ensuring safe operation of portable generators include:

  • Operate the portable generator only outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas from accumulating and potentially being drawn towards occupied spaces.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas.
  • Do not run portable generator inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, sheds, or other partially-enclosed spaces even if using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation.  Carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these spaces and can linger for hours, even after this product has shut off.
  • Always place portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
  • If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using the portable generator, shut it off and get to fresh air immediately. See a doctor. You may have carbon monoxide poisoning.
All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.

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