When your electricity goes out, generators can provide backup power to your home. If possible, install a permanent, automatic standby generator, which is the safest way to provide backup power. If you use a portable generator, always take it outside to run it; never indoors or in any indoor space, such as the garage. Always read your owner's manual thoroughly. Like any fuel-burning appliance, portable generators can give off a dangerous gas called carbon monoxide, or CO. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to death. You need a working carbon monoxide detector in your home to warn you if there is a CO problem.