Houston – Thousands of CenterPoint Energy customers are without power as Hurricane Nicholas continues along the Texas coastline.
The storm is likely forcing many to turn to generators to run fans, air conditioners and refrigerators until CenterPoint crews can get the power back online.
On Monday, Houston Fire Chief Samuel Peña stressed safety, especially with equipment that may produce carbon monoxide.
Here are some things to remember to keep you and your family safe while using a generator:
- Use a generator or other gasoline-powered machinery only outdoors and away from windows. You can use extension cords to keep the generator a good distance away and still plug in appliances.
- Running a generator in enclosed spaces without proper ventilation can lead to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention lists the most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
- Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning and Electrical previously told KPRC 2 that generators oil should be checked before it is used. It needs to be changed if it’s dirty or dark. They recommend running generators for 3-4 hours and then allowing it to rest for 15-20 minutes before starting it back up again.
- Be careful not to touch electrical equipment if it is wet or if you are standing in water. Many generators can handle rain, but shouldn’t be sitting in puddles of water. Only turn off the electricity if it is safe to do so in order to prevent electric shock.