Do You Know How To Use A Generator? Not Knowing Could Kill You

Some neighbors yesterday were scrambling to find a generator, because they didn't want to lose all the food in their freezer.

That worries me, because when we're rushing, we're not taking time to read the directions. And not knowing how to use a generator could kill you.

Nearly half of the deaths associated with Hurricane Laura were due to improper use of portable generators, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning.

Take the time to look at these tips... and read the instructions before you need the generator:

From the American Red Cross, on Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning:

  • Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area.
  • Keep these devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
  • Opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent CO buildup in the home. Although CO can't be seen or smelled, it can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Even if you cannot smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to CO. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air RIGHT AWAY - DO NOT DELAY.
  • Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.

Test the batteries frequently and replace when needed.

  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.

Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.

(Photo:Getty Images)