Generators can provide a good source of power during a power outage. However, they can also pose safety risks. Keeping a few simple safety tips in mind can help protect you and your family against the dangers of improper use.
Using Your Generator Safely
- Never run a generator in an enclosed space or indoors.
- Always have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector on hand when running a generator.
- Always keep your generator at least 20 feet from your home with the exhaust facing away from windows and doors.
- Turn off your gas-powered generator and allow it to cool before refuelling.
- Always store gas in an appropriate container, in a cool, well-ventilated space.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord.
- Check that the entire extension cord is free of cuts and that the plug has all three prongs, this can protect against a shock if water has collected inside the equipment.
- Turn off all appliances powered by the generator before shutting down the generator.
- Keep children away from portable generators at all times.
- Consider installing a transfer switch before the next storm. A transfer switch connects your generator to your circuit panel, allowing you to power appliances and avoid the use of extension cords. This provides an extra layer of protection during emergency situations.
Spotting Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide poisoning is the most common cause of injury, and death, when it comes to generator related accidents. Symptoms include dizziness, headaches, nausea and drowsiness. If you experience any of these symptoms go outside for fresh air immediately.