Families and communities can benefit from the use of portable generators to restore power and normalcy during the aftermath of severe weather. While a backup generator provides many benefits, it can be extremely hazardous and even life threatening when not properly operated and maintained. The primary hazard when using a generator is carbon monoxide (CO), a poisonous gas produced by the toxic engine exhaust. Unlike fire or smoke – CO is a deadly gas that you cannot see or smell.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that the majority of fatal CO poisonings are related to using a generator indoors. Places a generator should NEVER be run include:
Any Living Space
Near any windows, doors, vents or other home openings
Because CO is odorless, colorless people may be unaware they are being exposed.
Generators should ALWAYS be placed outside and far away from living spaces and any windows, doors and vents. It is critical to understand placement and usage of a generator along with the benefits of having CO alarms. You should install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Smoke alarms CANNOT detect carbon monoxide gas.
Briggs & Stratton’s goal is to be proactive in helping you understand the dangers of CO poisoning and safe generator operations. We are committed to education on proper selection, safe usage and regular maintenance of portable generators.
For additional information on Carbon Monoxide Hazards and Safety, visit www.cpsc.gov.
You can print and share our safety tips and CO facts with others in your community.