Take It Outside. Carbon Monoxide Kills: Generator Safety

As everyone knows, we carry generators at all of our stores, and they’re a nice thing to have. If you need light or warmth during a storm, or just need a couple of sockets over at the campground, generators will produce.

Their usefulness is easy to see, but can be dangerous if used the wrong way.

(editor’s note: as we were working on this article, the City of Duluth experienced a large power outage as a tree fell on a line, caught fire, and ultimately took a few hours to fix. We reacted by getting our generators out and running extension cords to critical computers and servers. Safety is always first. In our case, we needed to also be careful of extension cords which were running to generators strategically placed outdoors. There’s a lot to consider when it comes to generator safety!)

Generators are known to release Carbon Monoxide as exhaust.  Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is not only toxic but near impossible to detect before the symptoms start.

That being said, the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association has launched an new website and initiative completely dedicated to generator safety:


Below is a video from their website. Here are a few things to note:

  1. Know the Symptoms: Carbon Monoxide Poisoning symptoms include Headaches, Dizziness, Nausea, Shortness of Breath, and Fatigue. ,
  2. Always Read the Owner’s Manual First: Know your machinery and make sure that you follow all precautions for your family’s safety and your own.
  3. Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector on Hand: A Carbon Monoxide alarm will alert you long before the situation escalates. Make sure that the alarm meets current UL 2034 Safety Standards, and check the batteries regularly.
  4. Keep The Generator Away from Doors and Windows: Minimize possible fume intake by keeping it away from the airflow through your house.
  5. Point Fumes in a Different Direction: As exhaust fumes accumulate over time, make sure to point them in a direction away from any activity and preferably downwind.
  6. Leave As Soon As You Feel Symptoms: Don’t try to shut off the generator after feeling symptoms, simply leave and wait it out. Once symptoms start, loss of consciousness will follow soon after.

We do carry Carbon Monoxide Detectors in our Doraville, Duluth, and Oakwood Hardware Stores, if you don’t have one already.

If you follow these guidelines, you’re less likely to have an issue with Carbon Monoxide. We at Howard Brothers care about your safety in using any equipment, and we want to make sure that we always have the information you need when it comes to safety.

Have a Happy and Safe Fall Everyone.

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