Two injured by carbon monoxide poisoning in Polk County

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BARTOW, Fla. - Two Polk County residents were injured Tuesday through carbon monoxide poisoning, officials said.

In both incidents -- one in southwest Lakeland and the other in Lake Alfred – involved generators running in an enclosed garage. Improper use of portable generators can be risky.

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The most common dangers include carbon monoxide poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. Here is what you should know:

• Generators and gas grills should be operated in well-ventilated locations, away from all doors, windows and vent openings.

• Never use a generator or gas grill in an attached garage, even with the door open.

• Place generators so exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.

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• Install carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

• Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

• Store fuel in a container intended for the purpose and which is correctly labeled. Propane tanks should be turned off when not in use and stored outdoors.

• Do not connect a generator to your home’s electrical system without a licensed electrician providing a means to connect. Improper wiring creates the danger of back feeding the power system, energizing downed lines and fatally electrocuting anyone that contacts those lines.

The Department of Health reminds you that you cannot see or smell CO, and portable generators can produce high levels of CO very quickly. If you start to feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get to fresh air right away.

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