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Home Safety 101 - Portable Generators

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has come up with information on the risks of Portable Generators. I am forwarding this information onto you and your family. Portable generators are useful during power outages, however, many homeowners are unaware that the improper use of portable generators can be risky and deadly. Downed utility lines, power company blackouts, heavy snow falls or summer storms can all lead to power outages. Many people turn to a portable generator for a temporary solution without knowing the risks.

The most common dangers associated with portable generators are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, electrical shock or electrocution, and fire hazards. Half of the generator-related deaths happened in the four coldest months of the year, November through February, and portable generators were involved in the majority of carbon monoxide deaths involving engine-driven tools. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has a flyer to download Portable Generators.

Portable Generator Safety

  • Generators should be operated in well ventilated locations outdoors away from all doors, windows and vent openings.

  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building.

  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow the manufacturer's instructions for correct placement and mounting height.

  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

  • Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas. 

Safety Tip

When plugging in appliances, make sure they are plugged directly into the generator or a heavy duty outdoor-rated extension cord. The cords should be checked for cuts, tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially a

grounding pin. If you must connect the generator to the house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install a properly rated transfer switch in accordance with the National Electrical Code® (NEC) and all applicable state and local electrical codes.

 

I hope that this information will help keep your family and home safe. I thank the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) for their commitment to educating everyone on the risks involved with Portable Generators and Carbon Monoxide. If you know someone that could benefit from this information please forward it on. Check out my Val Cares Page on my website for more Safety Tips.

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