Firefighters offer tips to stay safe before, during and after the Hurricane Dorian

First responders stress proper generator use

News 6 teamed up with Orange County Fire Rescue Thursday for tips on how to prepare for the potential power outages and downed tree limbs that could happen when Hurricane Dorian makes landfall.

The most important tip they have is to make sure you prepare now, not later.

Some things they recommend is for you to know how to use your generator if you have one and make sure you run it and test it now instead of after the storm hits. Also, make sure you never run your generator inside your home, never run it inside your garage, and never run it near an open window, because gas and carbon monoxide fumes could seep in and cause you to get sick or even kill you.

Fire rescue crews recommend you have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home to alert you if CO does somehow end up in your home. CO is colorless and odorless and you many not know there are high levels of it around you and your home until it is too late.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include feeling tired, dizzy, feeling flu-like, nausea and having red lips and red skin. You can get a CO monitor at any home improvement store. Or call your local fire department if you can't find any.

Fire rescue crews also have life pack belts with CO monitors that can alert crews if high levels of carbon monoxide are in an area when responding to a call.

Fire crews warn people who have never used a chainsaw before to make sure they get with someone who has, and make sure you have the proper protective gear on before you ever start one up. That gear includes leather gloves, helmet, eye protection like goggles, and even chaps.

Fire crews said there were several people after Hurricane Irma who were injured because they did not take the proper precautions, and some families even lost loved ones when carbon monoxide filled their home after using a generator inside.

For more information, call 211 or 311.

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