Portable Generator Safety Update!


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The recent blizzard in the Northeast may not have been as bad for New Yorkers as anticipated, but it was bad enough to cause power outages to thousands.

When we hear power outage, we naturally think “generator.”

Generator safety Emergency Plan GuideHere at Emergency Plan Guide, we have looked several times at the pros and cons of generators while we considered purchasing one for our own neighborhood. And we have told the story of what happened AFTER we purchased it, too!

Today, as we head into National Severe Weather Preparedness Week (February 3 – 7), it seems a good time to add one more piece of information to the discussion.

Generators can be dangerous!

Here are three things to keep in mind as you consider the purchase of a new generator and/or get ready to turn yours on.

1. Location. The most important safety alert has to do with where you place your generator. You know that the off-the-shelf, standard generator kicks out significant quantities of carbon monoxide (resulting from the burning of fuel). Too much CO in the air can render you unconscious and kill you. In fact, According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), unintentional CO poisoning claims more than 400 lives a year, and about half of those are due to generators.

To protect yourself from the dangers of CO, run your generator outside and place it at least 20 ft. from the building, further if there are any doors, windows or vents. In particular, never run your generator in the garage, even if you keep the door open.

2. Connection. When the generator is running, it can power a number of appliances (as long as its fuel lasts). Use a heavy-duty outdoor electrical cord (10 gauge or better) with grounded plug (the three-prong one) to run from the generator outside to the appliances inside. Adding a heavy-duty power strip at the end in the house will make it easier to plug in the appliances.

Do the math!  Add up the wattage of the appliances you intend to plug in to make sure the generator can support that load.

3. Protection. NEVER NEVER NEVER plug the generator into a wall socket in the house! First, a generator cannot power your whole house so from a power standpoint, that’s useless. Second, and more important, the power from the generator flows through the house and into the power grid. Workers working on repairs to the grid could be electrocuted because of YOUR generator!

For more about generators,

check out these Emergency Plan Guide posts:

And if you are thinking “generator” you also need to be thinking “carbon monoxide alarm.”

Read our review questions before you purchase anything.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms and Detectors

You may not be anticipating any severe weather, but please forward this information to friends who are right in the path of these winter storms. Thanks.

Virginia
Your Emergency Plan Guide Team

 

 

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