EAST PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — With a major winter storm on the way and the potential for power outages, Southern New Englanders may have to turn to generators or wood stoves for power and heat.

Additionally, many homes have ventilation systems for heating and other household appliances, but large amounts of snow and strong winds could cause those vents to become blocked.

That’s why officials like Captain John Potvin, director of Emergency Medical Services in East Providence, is warning about the potential dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

“We always have a concern for venting. Whether it’s venting from a gas dryer or some newer technology with home heating systems that have vents that are lower,” he said Friday.

Potvin said it’s important to know the symptoms of CO poisoning.

“They kind of mimic the flu, so clearly we’re in the middle of a pandemic and also it is flu season, so they fall in line with each other,” he added.

If you lose power and must use a generator to power your home, it’s crucial to make sure you’re running it properly. Here are some important safety tips:

  • Keep your generator at least 20 feet away from your home
  • Keep your generator dry for better performance and avoiding electric shock
  • Start your generator before connecting other appliances