BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Hurricane season is around the corner, and it’s never too early to prepare.

Storm preparation goes beyond making sure you have an evacuation plan, disaster supplies, and double-checking insurance policies — it includes safety knowledge. Especially if you’re planning on riding out the storm at home and plan to use a generator.

Twenty-eight Louisiana Hurricane Ida-related deaths were reported in 2021, six of which were due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the CDC. The Louisiana Department of Health describes signs of carbon monoxide poisoning as “flu-like” with symptoms of headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM), along with issuing a notice about carbon monoxide poisonings after Hurricane Ida, reported “a dozen burn injuries and house fires” from people refueling generators.

Generator safety tips from the State Fire Marshal’s Office:

  • Place generators at least 20 feet away from your home.
  • Look for any air entry points into the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off, such as windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents or crawl spaces.
  • Have a CO alarm
  • Give these generators breaks that allow for any concentrated exhaust to clear away from the area.
  • Open your windows and doors during this break to air out any concentration that may have collected in your home.
  • Check the manufacturing specs to verify the installation meets those specs.
  • If there’s a concern that the installation standards were not met, get an appropriate party, like the installer, out to inspect it.
  • Ensure your generator is being appropriately maintained, including the oil change frequency requirements.

For more resources on hurricane preparedness, click here.