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Keep Your Family, Pets Safe When Using Generators During Power Outages

Release Date Release Number
DR-4569-CA NR 022
Release Date:
November 20, 2020

SACRAMENTO, Calif. – As California continues to recover from wildfires, FEMA urges everyone who experiences a power outage to be safe when using portable generators.

Do not use generators inside your home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Keep them outside of your living spaces and away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come inside. Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that could kill you, your family and your pets.

Be sure to check on your family and neighbors who may be using generators to remind them about the importance of keeping generators outside of their home and other enclosed spaces.

If you are using a generator for any reason, this information can help keep you and your household safe:

  • Place generators at least 20 feet away from your home, downwind away from open doors, windows and vents.
  • Before refueling it, turn off the generator and let it cool for 15-20 minutes.
  • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet; instead, use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord to plug appliances into generators.
  • Do not use generators in rain or wet conditions.
  • Place a fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Get a carbon monoxide monitor for your home.

For additional information about generators and carbon monoxide:

  • Watch this generator safety video from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and FEMA that includes American Sign Language: youtube.com/watch?v=n7GIOzABRHA.
  • Learn about carbon monoxide from the CDC at cdc.gov/co/ or call 800-232-4636.

For the latest information on wildfire recovery, visit www.fema.gov/disaster/4558, www.fema.gov/disaster/4569 and follow the FEMA Region 9 Twitter account at twitter.com/femaregion9.


Last updated March 18, 2021