FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Wednesday, August 05,2020

TRENTON, NJ – The New Jersey Division of Fire Safety is joining with local fire departments and emergency responders to issue a series of cautions in the wake of Tropical Storm Isaias, as power outages continue throughout the State.

“Widespread power outages, as we have experienced over the last 48 hours, lead to other hazards associated with tree removal and the use of gas-fired generators,” said  New Jersey Division of Fire Safety Director and State Fire Marsal Richard Mikutsky. “We ask that due caution be exercised when engaged in either.” 

The improper use of portable generators, consequent dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning, and the ongoing possibility of coming upon downed power lines are all related consequences residents should be aware of in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias. 


  • Never run a generator within a basement, garage or any enclosed or partially enclosed structure because the accumulation of carbon monoxide can be fatal.
  • Never position a generator close to windows and doors.
  • Use ten-year sealed battery carbon monoxide alarms.
  • Never connect a generator directly to home wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use. This can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone in contact them, including line workers making repairs.
  • Always plug appliances directly into generators.
  • Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and the plug has three prongs.
  • Make sure the generator is properly grounded.
  • Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
  • Turn off all equipment powered by a generator before shutting it down.
  • Keep the generator dry. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure.
  • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never fuel a generator while it is operating and wait until it is cool to the touch.
  • Read and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.


  • Downed power lines can energize the ground up to 35 feet away.
  • Never try to drive over a downed power line nor through water that is in contact with it.
  • Do not try to move a power line with anything.
  • If you are in a vehicle that contacted a live power line, stay inside your vehicle. Use your cellphone to get help.
  • Allow only first responders to approach the car to assist you.
  • If you are in your car and there is a fire or some other immediate hazard:              - Do not touch your vehicle and the ground at the same time.              - Open the door without touching the metal door frame.              - Exit the vehicle so that both feet land on the ground at the same time.              - Keep both feet on the ground. Shuffle in any direction heel to toe.      


The use of portable gas generators presents the possibility of CO poisoning should the generator be improperly operated. Be aware that there is a reason that Carbon Monoxide (CO) is called “the silent killer.” Always have operating, ten-year sealed Carbon Monoxide alarms on every level or your home. Be aware of the following symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning even when operating a portable generator in the proper manner.

Early symptoms may mimic the flu without fever and can include:

  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of Breath
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness

A life-threatening exposure can include these symptoms: 

  • Mental confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Death 

The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing community risk reduction and firefighter training programs.

For more information about DCA, visit or follow the Department on social media: 


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Tammori Petty
Gina Trish
Lisa Ryan

(609) 292-6055