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PEHSU Factsheet: Flooding Aftermath > Can I use a portable generator?

Can I use a portable generator?

posted on Aug 23, 2021

Due to loss of electricity, gasoline- or diesel-powered generators may be used in the aftermath of floods. NEVER use portable generators indoors! Place generators outside and as far away from buildings as possible. Do not put portable generators on balconies or near doors, vents, or windows and do not use them near where people are sleeping. Likewise, charcoal grills and kerosene cooking devices should not be used indoors for heating or cooking; and gas ovens should not be used for heating purposes. These devices release carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless, and deadly gas. Simply opening doors and windows or using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide buildup in the home or in partially enclosed areas such as a garage. 

If children or anyone else in a family starts to feel sick, dizzy, or weak or experiences a headache, chest pain, or confusion, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical care as soon as possible. Fetuses and infants are especially vulnerable to the life-threatening effects of carbon monoxide.

Install a carbon monoxide detector that is approved by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL). These are generally available at local hardware stores. Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so detectors should be placed closer to the ceiling. Detectors should be placed close enough to sleeping areas to be heard by sleeping household members.