Carbon Monoxide Poisonings Linked to Gasoline-Powered Generators
According to Daley, generators should always be operated outside the home,
away from any place where air might enter the home, such as near windows,
doors, or vents. If the generator is used in a garage, it should be a structure
that is separate from the house and well ventilated. Simply opening a window or
door is not enough protection against the threat of carbon monoxide. Daley
tells WebMD that consumers who are uncertain about the safe use or proper
location for their gas-powered generator should contact their state or local
health department or local fire department.
Daley says that testing for carbon monoxide in the home is important for
everyone -- but most especially for people using generators. Local fire
departments are equipped to test homes for carbon monoxide, but inexpensive,
readily available detectors are the best option. "I wouldn't rely on the
carbon monoxide detector totally, but they are an additional safety mechanism
in case you are getting a flow of carbon monoxide from the generator
outside," Daley says. "One thing to remember when you're dealing with a
power outage is that if [the generator] is not providing power to the
electrical outlets and you have a plug-in carbon monoxide detector, it will not
be working. For areas that are prone to power outages, it may be worthwhile to
have a carbon monoxide detector that has a battery backup."
In addition to having the carbon monoxide detector, owners should read the
manual so they are aware of what to do if the detector is activated; they
should also read the owner's manual for the generator. "One thing we found
in our study was that people who showed awareness of warnings associated with
the generators appeared less likely to be poisoning victims," Daley
- Using a gasoline-powered generator, a kerosene heater, or a propane heater
can put you at increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Generators should only be operated outside or in a well-ventilated
structure that is not attached to the home.
- A carbon monoxide detector is good option, and it should be equipped with a
battery backup for use during power outages.