WASHINGTON - Homeowners may be considering adding a generator to their winter shopping list, especially with the threat of power outages in the D.C. region.
However, local fire officials are reminding residents that when the time comes to break it out, be sure to use it properly.
"When they're operating they need to be 25, 30 feet from the home," says Bowie Fire Marshal Pete Mellitis.
He says that during the winter, it's not uncommon to have Christmas tree and heating fires.
There is also a risk of exposure to deadly carbon monoxide when using a generator.
"Carbon monoxide, as they say, is the silent killer," Mellitis says.
He recommends unplugging space heaters when done with them.
He also cautions care should be taken when refueling a generator.
"When you allow that engine to cool, you don't get any gas fumes that get near the engine, and can ignite," Mellitis says.
He warns residents not to use their stove or candles as a heating source.
"Prepare early on, and have flashlights, have battery operated lanterns, things that don't require fuel sources," he says.
WTOP's Thomas Warren contributed to this report. Follow WTOP on Twitter.
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