News from the Somerset County Board of County Commissioners

Shanel Y. Robinson, Commissioner Director Ÿ Melonie Marano, Commissioner Deputy Director

Sara Sooy, Commissioner Ÿ Paul Drake, Commissioner Ÿ Doug Singleterry, Commissioner


For Immediate Release

October 19, 2022
Contact Nathan Rudy, Somerset County PIO Director, at (908) 635-8401 for more information.

Generator Safety Reminder for Somerset County Residents

Extreme Weather from Hurricanes to Snowstorms Can Cause Power Outages, Requiring Emergency Power Sources


SOMERVILLE, NJ – Extreme weather or unexpected disasters can cause power outages, leading to the use of emergency power sources. The Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) reminds residents of the importance of following manufacturer’s guidelines and safety precautions when using temporary portable power sources, such as generators.

Generators can be helpful during power outages caused by severe weather, but carbon monoxide gas produced by generators can be extremely harmful and fatal. Follow these steps to help keep safe and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning while using generators:

  • Only use generators outside, more than 20 feet away from a home, windows, doors, and vents
  • Never use a generator inside a home or garage, even if doors and windows are open
  • Never use a generator in a basement, or any enclosed, or partially enclosed structure such as a carport
  • Install battery-operated or battery back-up carbon monoxide detectors near every sleeping area in a home
  • Check carbon monoxide detectors regularly to ensure batteries are functioning properly

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that can harm anyone in a household. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” since it cannot be seen or smelled. Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, older adults, people living with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often described as flu-like and include headaches, dizziness, fatigue, vomiting, nausea, and confusion.

If CO poisoning is suspected, take immediate action:

  • Call 9-1-1 if a person is not breathing, unconscious or unresponsive, or having seizures
  • From a safe area, call the NJ Poison Control experts at 1-800-222-1222 for personalized guidance and advice
  • Leave the home immediately if the CO detector alarm sounds

Make a family emergency plan and supply kit that includes items needed during a power outage. Supply kits should include enough water, nonperishable food, and emergency supplies such as flashlights, batteries, medications, and first aid items to last at least 3 days. Supply kits should be personalized to family needs and should include items for children and/or pets. Somerset County produced a step-by-step video for making an emergency plan and supply kit at

For more information on power outage and generator safety, please visit: or

Somerset County Department of Health (SCDOH) is the lead agency for environmental health compliance and enforcement in Somerset County. For more information on the environmental health program and resources, visit


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