Tips on properly handling a generator after Hurricane Irma

(WSVN) - Rescue officials are warning South Florida residents to handle generators with caution after the machines’ fumes caused four people to die of carbon monoxide poisoning since Hurricane Irma.

The storm’s fierce winds brought down powerlines and left 4.5 million people in Florida without power, and some residents have turned to generators for power.

Residents should take precautions when using these machines.

First of all, users should never run a generator inside a home, according to officials.

Instead, they should be placed outside in a well-ventilated area, away from windows, doors or vents.

If the generator is kept near an opening, carbon monoxide from its fumes can seep into the home.

As a safety precaution, those using a generator should also have carbon monoxide detectors in every room.

The toxic gas can turn deadly in just hours or minutes, according to officials.

The equipment can also catch fire, so residents are warned to keep a fire extinguisher handy.

Users should also avoid overloading the machine, which can cause a fire.

Copyright 2019 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.