When the power goes off, many residents turn to emergency generators to power freezers, refrigerators, lights, fans and other appliances. If you use a generator, extreme caution is required.

While convenient and useful, generators can create hazards for homeowners and electric utility workers. Always read and follow the manufacturer's safety and operating instructions.

Safety Tips

  • Operate it outdoors in an area with plenty of ventilation. Never run a generator in a home or garage. Generators emit deadly carbon monoxide.
  • Turn the generator on before plugging appliances to it. After the generator is running, turn your appliances & lights on one at a time to avoid overloading the unit. Generators are recommended for temporary use; prioritize your needs.
  • Do not connect a generator to a home electrical outlet or circuit breaker panel to avoid back feed. Use heavy-duty extension cords to connect appliances to the outlets on the generator.
  • Be sure the generator is turned off and cool before fueling it.  Do not store fuel indoors.  Flammable liquids should be properly labeled in non-glass safety containers.
  • Keep children & pets away from portable generators. Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation.
  • Make sure your hands are dry before touching the generator.
  • Generators pose electrical risks, especially when operated in wet conditions. Use a generator only if necessary when wet conditions exist. Protect the generator by operating it under an open structure on a dry surface where water cannot form puddles or drain under it.

Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a color­less, odorless and tasteless poison gas. It is a component of the ex­haust from the generator engine. The symptoms of exposure are subtle, but deadly.  Do not use generators, charcoal or gas grills indoors.

Inexpensive CO detectors, similar to smoke alarms, are readily available and recommended as an added safety precaution. 

Call 911 or the Poison Information Center at 1-800-222-1222 if you think you have been poisoned. More information is available online - floridapoisoncontrol.org.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Exposure

  1. Mild Exposure
    • Headache
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Dizziness
    • Blurred Vision
  1. Medium Exposure
  • Severe headache
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Rapid heart rate
  1. Severe Exposure
    • Unconsciousness
    • Convulsions
    • Cardiac or respiratory failure
    • Death