MADISON, Wis., March 15 (UPI) -- Portable gasoline generators used during power outages and after hurricanes can pose a major safety risk for even the most careful U.S. consumer.
A study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine examined sources of carbon monoxide poisonings in Florida during the 2004 hurricane season.
"We found a number of people who made a point of placing their generators outside their homes were poisoned. Because of the amount of carbon monoxide these devices emit, they may pose a threat even when located outside," lead study author David Van Sickle of the University of Wisconsin in Madison said in a statement.
Portable generators should be located in a dry area as far away from the home as possible, but while generators need to be used outdoors in a well-ventilated area, there is no agreed-upon distance on how far from buildings they need to be, according to the study.
Van Sickle advises using an extra-long extension cord to keep the generator farther from the house and to always have a carbon monoxide detector in the home.