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PGMA: Avoid Carbon Monoxide Dangers While Operating Portable Generators

MILWAUKEE, Dec. 4, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In preparation for the upcoming ice and snowstorm season, PGMA (Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association) reminds residents to be mindful of the dangers of carbon monoxide while operating portable generators.

"Portable generators are designed to thrive during ice and snow storm season, when it's more likely power outages will abruptly put families in the dark," said Patty Lavelle, Representative for PGMA. "Unit generators can be dangerous if not operated properly."

Portable generators are powered by small engines that emit potentially harmful carbon monoxide gas. If carbon monoxide is not allowed to exhaust from the engine in a safe manner, harmful effects - even death - can occur in a matter of minutes.

Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous because it is tasteless, colorless and odorless.
Even if exhaust fumes cannot be detected, carbon monoxide could still be present.

The best way to operate a portable generator and safely control carbon monoxide gas is to read and follow the operator's manual before starting the generator.


Only operate a portable generator outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas accumulating and potentially being drown towards occupied spaces.

Install battery- operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer's instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas.

Do not run portable generators inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, sheds or other partially­ enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.

Always place your portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.

If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using the portable generator, you may have carbon monoxide poisoning. Get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention. Very high levels of CO can rapidly cause victims to lose consciousness before they can rescue themselves. DO NOT attempt to shut off the generator before moving to fresh air. Entering an enclosed space where a generator is or has been running may put you at greater risk of CO poisoning.

To learn more, visit

SAFETY FIRST Carbon Monoxide Awareness
Patty Lavelle • Swanson Russell • 1222 P Street Lincoln, NE 68508• 402.437.649

SOURCE Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association (PGMA)

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