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Ice Storms In One Month Lead To Rush In Generator Sales

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EMSA has a warning about generators and deadly carbon monoxide. EMSA has a warning about generators and deadly carbon monoxide.
OKLAHOMA CITY -

EMSA has a warning about generators and deadly carbon monoxide.

“It doesn’t take a whole lot of CO to get into your blood system to cause a problem, and with all the power outages, generator usage, unfortunately, we’ve seen a dramatic increase in those calls,” paramedic John Graham said.

If you're thinking about getting a generator, it's important to get the right kind and to know how to use it safely.

The most important thing to do when you buy one is to keep it out of your house and a good distance from your home, because the fumes can seep through windows.

Like a lot of people, when the power goes out and it's just not coming back on quickly enough, Randy Little took matters into his hands.

"I bought the generator first, and then I thought, 'OK how am I going to run this generator?' So I looked online,” Little said.

And bought a box to go with it.

“I knew I didn't know how to wire it,” he said.

So, he called an electrician.

"To connect this box into my circuit breaker box,” he said.

He bought his generator about eight years ago.

"I think I got this one at Sam’s,” Little said.

He hasn't been without power since. It's a good idea if you're not into roughing it, and so many people think so that the guys at Steve's Wholesale Distributors are loading generators up like hotcakes.

"We are selling an average at least five every 20 minutes. We've got a distribution center here,” Robert Pineda said.

But when you show up to purchase one, be prepared, and know exactly what you plan to power.

"There's where the catch is,” Pineda said. “A lot of people do this and they think a 4,000 (kilowatt) is going to be sufficient, but because it being so small they think OK that'll be great, but then when they realize that they’re going to run multiple items then you'll start throwing the breaker on it."

To keep just your fridge running, going for a smaller unit will work.

"Four thousand is going to be right around the ballpark of the smaller appliances,” Pineda said.

A 5,000 kilowatt is the most popular and costs just under $700, but to keep everything up and going, expect to pay about $5,000 for a 3,000 square-foot house.

"The whole house generator is a 22,000 KW. That one there will run your whole house,” Pineda said. 

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