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Power Outages & the Dangers of Generators | Health

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Power Outages & the Dangers of Generators
Health, People

With more than 30,000 people in Prince George's County still without power, dangers of generator usage has become prevalent in recent news as there have been three instances with one fatality where families in the area have come in contact with Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

"We understand that people are without electricity. We sympothize with you and we hope the best, however you can not operate a generator inside of a structure. If you live in an apartment you can not operate one on your balcony," said Prince George's County Fire/ EMS Department's Mark Brady.

"It is very important to follow all manufacturer instructions , placing generators at least 15 – 20 feet from homes and in well-ventilated areas," Brady went on to say.

 Here are some more important safety tips Mark Brady and other fire officials are reminding residents when using a generator:    


  • Generators, grills, camp stoves or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices should never be used inside a home, basement, garage or camper—or even outside near an open window.
  • Never operate a generator in your home, garage, basement or any other enclosed area. The exhaust from a generator contains high levels of carbon monoxide (CO) which can build up quickly and lead to serious injury or death. 
  •  Proper ventilation is critical. A generator needs to be at least 15 to 20 feet from an enclosed area and away from any doors, windows and fresh air intakes where exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide can enter the home.
  • Never plug your generator into an outlet, and don’t connect a generator directly into your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel.
  •  Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms have battery back-ups, are installed and are working properly.  
  • Never fuel a generator while it is running. Turn off the generator and let it cool before refueling. 
  • Keep generators away from all open windows – including your neighbors’ – so deadly exhaust does not enter.

How to recognize a Carbon Monoxide Emergency:  Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms. If a CO poisoning is suspected, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.Every home should have at least one working carbon monoxide detector.  The detector’s batteries should be checked at least twice annually, at the same time smoke detector batteries are checked.


Health, People