Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Generator Safety Precautions Can Help Prevent Poisoning

Contact: Amy Cormier


Okeechobee, FL. As Floridians begin the task of preparing for a storm, the Florida Department of Health in Okeechobee County (DOH – Okeechobee County) is urging the public to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) exposure by taking precautions with gas‐powered appliances and charcoal or gas grills.

Generator safety tips:

  • Run generators outside ‐ never inside, and never in a garage.
  • Never run a generator near an open window, door, or opening into the home.
  • Always read the owner’s manual first and follow the manufacturer’s recommended precautions and procedures.
  • Only operate generators in dry areas away from rain or floodwaters.
  • Never fuel a generator while the unit is running or hot.
  • Only use outdoor‐rated extension cords to carry the power from the generator.
  • Stay alert with carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure the alarm meets current UL 2034 safety standards and check the battery regularly.
  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, dizziness, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, unconsciousness If you feel symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, leave right away.

Carbon monoxide safety tips:

  • Use portable generators outside the house and garage.
  • Keep generators at least 15 feet away from windows, doors, and vents, which is the minimum distance recommended by the U.S. Department of Energy.
  • Install a battery‐operated or battery‐backup CO detector in the hallway outside bedrooms. NEVER ignore a beeping CO alarm. Go outside and call 911 if the alarm sounds.

Sources: U.S. Department of Energy,,