Safety Precautions When Using Emergency Generators

Depending on where you live, you may be prone to power outages during certain months of the year. An emergency generator makes a home blackout-proof, which is particularly helpful if you have small children or senior citizens living in your home. Essential appliances such as heaters, refrigerators, and lights will continue to work with the help of an emergency generator. While there are many advantages to setting up an emergency generator, they must be installed and operated properly to prevent health and safety risks. Here are precautions to consider when installing and operating a backup generator to your home.

First, follow all instructions in the manufacturer’s written documentation, especially when it comes to the placement of the unit and safe electrical connections. Exhaust from portable and stationary backup generators contain a high level of carbon monoxide gas, which can be dangerous and even deadly if inhaled. To avoid these dangers, place the generator outside your home and a safe distance away from windows, doors, and vents. Never operate a generator from inside your home.

The exhaust must also be directed away from windows, doors, and vents. Avoid operating the generator in partially enclosed spaces and install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. This is an extra precaution to ensure the fumes are not entering the home from the outside as the gas cannot be seen, and does not have a distinguishing odor or taste.

Generators also pose the threat of shock or electrocution, especially when handled in wet weather conditions. To prevent these electrical accidents, operate the generator on a dry surface where it will not be affected by water. Dry your hands completely before touching the machine.

When connecting appliances to the generator with an extension cord, use long, heavy-duty cords that are specifically made for outdoor use. The wattage rating for each cord should exceed the total wattage of all appliances connected to it.

Whether your generator works with gasoline, kerosene, propane, or any other type of flammable liquid, store it outside of living areas in clearly labeled, non-glass safety containers. Do not store near a fuel-burning appliance. Before refueling your generator, turn it off and let it cool down for several minutes.

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