Using a generator safely during stormy weather

Generator fire. (Photo: Westport Fire Department)

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Strong winds will be part of the wintry weather expected over the weekend. That means there’s a good chance people will lose power and use a generator to power their home.

According to the American Red Cross, generators have risen in popularity since Hurricane Irene and Superstorm Sandy.

“We’re seeing a trend of more and more people sheltering in place and using generator,” said Richard Branigan, chief program officer for the American Red Cross.

First, a generator has to be placed outside your home — not even in the garage. The big concern is carbon monoxide, described as a silent killer.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, between 2004 and 2013 nearly 700 people died across the U.S. from CO poisoning while using a generator.

“The carbon monoxide can filter into the house and back feed into the house through the ventilation system, the garage, through any open door,” said Branigan.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • Dull headache
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Nausea or Vomiting

If you feel any of these symptoms, get out of the house and call 911.




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