Firefighters warn about dangers of emergency generators after Lake County incident

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Willoughby Hills Fire Department, emergency generator safety

WILLOUGHBY HILLS, Ohio (WJW) – Firefighters are reminding residents to practice power generator safety during an outage after an incident that happened in Willoughby Hills Thursday morning.

Willoughby Hills Fire Rescue was called out for a carbon monoxide detector alarm going off. When fire crews got there, the home didn’t have power and an emergency generator was running.

Someone who lives there said their carbon monoxide detector went off around 3 a.m. and their family didn’t think much of it. They recently moved into the home and assumed the battery just needed to be replaced.

They told firefighters that the alarm continued to go off after they replaced the battery later in the morning.

Firefighters said the exhaust from the generator was blowing into the house from the exterior vent into the crawl space.

The gas company also found out that the generator wasn’t working right. They said it was putting out about 250 ppm of carbon monoxide.

Firefighters contacted the generator manufacturer to check for a possible installation problem.

The Willoughby Hills Fire Department said it’s important to know the dangers of emergency generators. They laid out the following tips on their Facebook page:

1. Never run an emergency generator inside a building. The amount of CO generated from emergency generators can cause illness or kill individuals inside.

2. Follow all manufacturing recommendations and directions when installing and operating generators.

3. Make sure only a qualified electrician is installing your emergency generators.

4. Make sure you have a functioning CO detector that can alert those sleeping inside. Having a CO detector that is in a basement near gas appliances doesn’t help if you can’t hear the alarm.

5. If the CO detector is older than 10 years, it’s time to replace it.

6. Your home must be isolated from the electrical service that is servicing your home or building. Otherwise, your generator will be back feeding into the electrical system, causing an extremely dangerous situation for your neighbors, emergency workers and utility workers.

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