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Have a generator? Know these safety tips ahead of today's storms

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Posted at 6:55 AM, Mar 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-25 07:58:02-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — It's not just the threat of bad weather that you need to think about today. There's also a hidden danger that comes with storms that federal officials want you to keep in mind.

When the power goes out some people pull out a portable generator or some other devices for power and heat, so that can increase the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning and fire.

Experts from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) say CO poisoning from portable generators can happen quick. In fact, an exposed person may become unconscious before recognizing the symptoms of nausea, dizziness or weakness.

Remember this is an odorless and colorless gas that can kill you.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, and another 20,000 visit the emergency room for exposure.

  • Experts say if you do need a generator later today, only operate it outside and make sure they’re at least 20 feet away from the house.
  • Also, direct the generator’s exhaust away from the home and any other buildings that someone could enter.
  • Don’t ever place the portable generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace, shed or on the porch because opening doors or windows will not provide enough ventilation.
  • Also, never burn charcoal indoors because it can produce lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

It's always important to test your CO and smoke alarms to make sure they’re working properly. Never ignore the alarms if they go off. Experts say to go outside immediately and call 911.