Carbon Monoxide (CO)

The Center for Wound Care and Hyperbaric Medicine at Springhill Medical Center would like to remind residents that Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas found as a by product in combustion fumes, such as those produced by generators, small gasoline engines, stoves, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces such as your home, office, garage, car, caravan, or boat. People and animals in these enclosed spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning: Headaches, Dizziness, Disorientation, Nausea, Fatigue, Vomiting, Chest pain and Confusion.

Use generators and grills in well ventilated areas during a power outage. If you think you may have CO poisoning, consult a health care professional right away.

Portable Generator Safety

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be associated with engine exhaust from a portable generator. Please have a battery operated carbon monoxide detector on hand if you are going to use a portable generator. Do not place the generator in doors and keep the generator at lease twenty feet away from an existing structure (house).

Generator safety tips:

  • Always observe the generator manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
  • Always run your generator outdoors in a well-ventilated area.
  • Maintain your generator engine according to the maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety.
  • Do not operate the engine near combustible materials.
  • Keep gas fresh. If you do not plan to use your generator for up to 30 days, stabilize the gas with a gas stabilizer.
  • Place generator on level ground to operate.
  • When using extension cords, be sure they are grounded, and are a sufficient wire gauge for the application. Heavy duty outdoor rated cords will handle household appliance loads.
  • Never plug your generator directly into your house circuit.

If connecting a generator into your home electrical system, have a qualified electrician install an Emergency Manual Power Transfer System.