Portable Generator Safety Tips
Are you prepared for a power outage? Whether it is from a storm or an unlikely incident, it is important to be prepared for the unexpected. What do you do when your electricity goes out for an extended amount of time? People with special needs cannot go without power for too long and need to have a back-up plan. Generators can save food in freezers and refrigerators and can power important electrical equipment. Having a generator is the perfect way to be prepared for a power outage, but it is very important to know how to properly use one to ensure the safety of you and your family.
Carbon Monoxide(CO) is a large concern when dealing with portable generators because they quickly produce high levels that often go undetected because it is colorless, odorless and yet very toxic. You can’t see or smell CO, which makes it even more important to be safe when running a portable generator.
- Generators should be at least 20 feet away from buildings. Even at 20 feet away, air flow patterns could still blow carbon monoxide into homes
- Engines emit carbon monoxide. Don’t run them in an enclosed area including your home, garage, crawl space, or other enclosed areas. Fumes can build up that can be fatal. Place generators away from windows, doors, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in the area you are running a generator.
Generator Safety Tips
- Always read and follow manufacturer’s operating instructions before running a generator.
- Turn the generator off and let the engine cool off before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite. Do not store generator fuel near an ignition source.
- To avoid electrocution, keep the generator dry. Do not use in rain or wet conditions. Operate it on a dry surface under an open canopy-like structure. Make sure your hands are dry before touching the generator. Place on level surface to keep oil at the proper level in the engine. Never manipulate a generator’s electrical components if you are wet or standing in water.
- Should be kept a safe distance from structures because of engine heat.
- Connect the generator directly to the appliance. You should not try to hook generators to your home electrical supply box.
- Use the correct extension cord, one that is heavy-duty, specifically designed for outdoor use, and has a wattage rating that exceeds the total wattage of all devices plugged into it.
- Make sure electrical cords used are in good condition and are not damaged, cut or abraded. Never use frayed or damaged extension cords.