Using a generator? What to know to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide illnesses caused by generators have led to increased hospitalizations as nearly 40,000 remain without power after Monday’s tornadoes.

The Dayton Fire Department has responded to several CO poising cases resulting from the use of generators, Fire Chief Jeff Lykins said, including one Tuesday night with particularly high readings inside the house.

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He urges residents using generators to heed warnings to stay safe.

“The first one is make sure you use them outside, at least 15 feet away from your home. Do not use them in your garage, even with the garage door open. Some generators can produce up to the same amount of CO as 100 vehicles, so quite a lot,” Lykins said.

“Do not refuel generators while they’re running, make sure you unplug them.

“Make sure you use a proper gauge extension cord when you are using a generator, and if you are going to use a generator, make sure you have a CO detector inside the home,” Lykins said.

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If you are without power and are using a generator, this is what you need to know, according to the American Red Cross.

  • Never use a generator inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area
  • Keep the devices outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors
  • Opening doors and windows or using fan will not prevent CO buildup in a home
  • CO can't be seen or smelled. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air immediately. Do not delay.
  • Install CO alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning
  • If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to fresh air

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