Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
NEVER use a generator in enclosed or partially-enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly. When you use a portable generator, remember that you cannot smell or see carbon monoxide.
Even if you can’t smell exhaust fumes, you may still be exposed to carbon monoxide. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away! The carbon monoxide from generators can rapidly lead to full incapacitation and death. Do not delay.
If you experience serious symptoms, get medical attention immediately. Inform the medical staff that carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected. If you experienced symptoms while indoors, have someone call the fire department to determine when it is safe to re-enter the building.