(Family Features) Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but if used incorrectly, they can cause harm to you and your family.
Generator exhaust contains high levels of carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is tasteless, colorless and odorless. Careful consideration should be taken while operating portable generators or carbon monoxide poisoning can become a deadly risk.
"Generators can be very dangerous if not operated properly," said Joe Harding, representative for the Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association (PGMA). "However, with proper selection and safe usage, the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by portable generators can be greatly reduced. The PGMA Safety First program is focused on educating the public to prevent unnecessary deaths."
Protect your family, know the warning signs
To minimize tragedies associated with carbon monoxide poisoning, the experts at PGMA offer these tips for the safe operation of portable generators:
- Do not run portable generators inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, sheds or other partially-enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up and linger for hours in these places, even after the generator has been turned off.
- Only operate a portable generator outside, far away from windows, doors and vents, to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas accumulating and potentially being drawn toward occupied spaces.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer's instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas.
- Always place your portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
- The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illness such as cold, flu or food poisoning. If you suspect you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms due to carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention.
For more information about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning and ways to prevent unnecessary deaths, visit www.pgmaonline.com.
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