Improper use of generators and grills lead to carbon monoxide alarms

Fire Chief Paul Milositz warned Wiltonians today of the dangers of operating a generator or gas or charcoal grill in a garage or other enclosed area near a home. This week Connecticut has 29 confirmed cases of carbon monoxide poisoning.

In Wilton, CO (carbon monoxide) alarms have been rising, Chief Milositz said at a press conference.

While he did not have specific numbers, he said the automatic alarms are "trending upward."

No one has been taken to the hospital as a result, he said.

"Generators have to be used safely," Chief Milositz said. The exhaust from generators contains high levels of carbon monoxide, greater than that of multiple cars running in a garage, which can quickly incapacitate and kill.

"Never, ever grill inside the garage, the house or on the balcony of an apartment building."

The fire department offers the following information.

Portable Generators

Never use a generator inside a home, basement, shed or garage even if doors and windows are open. Keep generators outside and far away from windows, doors and any air intake vents. Any electrical cables you use with the generator should be free of damage and suitable for outdoor use.

Charcoal Grills and Camp Stoves

Never use charcoal grills or camp stoves indoors. Deaths have occurred when consumers burned charcoal or used camp stoves in enclosed spaces, which produced lethal levels of carbon monoxide.

CO & Smoke Alarms

Make sure you have carbon monoxide and smoke alarms installed immediately outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home to protect against CO poisoning. Be sure to test each CO alarm today. Change the alarms' batteries when you turn the clocks back this weekend.

Electrical and Gas Safety

Stay away from any downed wires, including telephone and cable TV feeds. They may be live with deadly voltage. Just because there is no electrical power in your neighborhood, doesn't mean the downed wires are not energized. There is always the possibility any of those wires have been inadvertently energized by the incorrect installation of an emergency generator. If you have a generator, be sure it is properly wired and turn off the main breaker on your electrical panel to be sure that electricity is not fed back into the main transmission system, risking injury to citizens, restoration crews and emergency responders.

Natural gas or propane valves that have been under water should be replaced. Smell and listen for leaky gas connections. If you have any concern that there is a gas leak, immediately leave the house, leave the door(s) open, and call 911. Never strike a match. Any size flame can spark an explosion. Before turning the gas back on, have the gas system checked by a professional.


Use caution with candles. Wherever possible, use flashlights instead. If you must use candles, do not burn them on or near anything that can catch fire. Never leave burning candles unattended. Extinguish candles when you leave the room.