Generator Safety Reminder for County Residents
SOMERVILLE, NJ – Extreme weather or unexpected disasters can cause power outages, leading to the use of emergency power sources. The Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) reminds residents of the importance of following manufacturer’s guidelines and safety precautions when using temporary portable power sources, such as generators.
Generators can be helpful during power outages caused by severe weather, but carbon monoxide gas produced by generators can be extremely harmful and fatal. Follow these steps to help keep safe and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while using generators:
Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from a home, windows, doors, and vents
Never use a generator inside a home or garage, even if doors and windows are open
Never use a generator in a basement, or any enclosed, or partially enclosed structure such as a carport
Install battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area in a home
Check carbon monoxide detectors regularly to ensure batteries are functioning properly
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that can harm anyone in a household. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” since it cannot be seen or smelled. Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, older adults, people living with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often described as flu-like and include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and confusion.
If CO poisoning is suspected, take immediate action:
Call 9-1-1 if a person is not breathing, unconscious or unresponsive, or having seizures
From a safe area, call the NJ Poison Control experts at 1-800-222-1222 for personalized guidance and advice
Leave the home immediately if the CO detector alarm sounds
Make a family emergency plan and supply kit that includes items needed during a power outage. Supply kits should include enough water, nonperishable food, and emergency supplies such as flashlights, batteries, medications, and first aid items to last at least 3 days. Supply kits should be personalized to family needs and should include items for children and/or pets. Somerset County produced a step-by-step video for making an emergency plan and supply kit at https://youtu.be/NzkZvOsFhF4.
For more information on power outage and generator safety, please visit:
https://www.cdc.gov/disasters/poweroutage/needtoknow.html or https://www.cdc.gov/co/generatorsafetyfactsheet.html.
Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) is the lead agency for environmental health compliance and enforcement in Somerset County. For more information on the environmental health program and resources, visit https://www.co.somerset.nj.us/government/public-health-safety/health-department/environmental-health.