Keeping you and your family safe while using a portable generator

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Sioux Falls, S.D. - The Minnehaha County Sheriff's Office says a man has died because of carbon monoxide poisoning.

38-year-old Dustin Patch was found dead Monday afternoon in his garage in Hartford.

Authorities say he was running a portable generator to keep a sump pump going during a power outage.

According to data, more than 700 people died in the U.S. between 2004 and 2013 because of the way a generator was being used.

“They can obviously have some devastating effects on people,” Minnehaha County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Zachary Cegelske said.

As communities all across our area deal with the aftermaths of flooding, a winter storm, and power outages, generators hum.

“Just make sure you have it in a well ventilated area outside of the home,” Cegelske said.

If your generator is in an enclosed space like a garage…

“It’ll eventually overtake that structure and look for places to escape,” Cegelske said. “A generator uses a fuel like a gasoline to run and that creates an exhaust which then creates carbon monoxide.”

One way to check for that carbon monoxide is with a detector. On most detectors, lights or noises will go off.

“If it gets really high you can actually not have very much time to get out,” Sioux Falls Fire Rescue firefighter Dylan Clark said.

If your detector goes off, you can call Sioux Falls Fire Rescue and they will go in with a gas monitor to check levels.

“This is kind of something that it will be like,” Clark said. “We have a 46 on a co.”

Because carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, it's important to know the signs of a potential poisoning.

“Somebody will have a headache,” Clark said. “They might get nauseous and sick. If you're looking at them they might be flushed. Those are kind of the main three things you're going to see in people. We’d rather have you call and it be nothing, than have you think that it’s nothing and it ends up being something.”

Clark said you should have a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home rather than just one in the house.

You should also keep those generators far enough from your home so the fumes won't work their way back in.