Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is called the "Invisible Killer" because it's a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas. More than 200 people in the United States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products, including generators. Other products include faulty, improperly-used or incorrectly-vented fuel-burning appliances such as furnaces, stoves, water heaters and fireplaces.
Many Americans own portable generators to keep the power on after a storm. However, many people don't realize that one portable generator can produce the same amount of carbon monoxide as hundreds of cars.
Protect Your Family from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Never use portable generators inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open. Use generators outside only, far away from the home.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or CO alarms with battery backup on every level of the home and outside sleeping areas. Interconnected CO alarms are best; when one sounds, they all sound.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately, and then call 911.
An Alarm Can Save Your Life
Working CO alarms matter. Install one on every level and outside sleeping areas at home and check the batteries regularly.
Other CO Topics
Research & Statistics
Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Deaths Associated with the Use of Consumer Products 2020 Annual Estimates
Fatal Incidents Associated with Non-Fire Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from Engine-Driven Generators and Other Engine-Driven Tools, 2012–2022
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Grant Program (COPPGP)
CPSC Safety Alerts and Neighborhood Safety Network posters are not available to order. If you would like to use these safety publications, they are free to download and print.