Generator safety tips that could save your life

Tracking the Tropics

NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) — With preparations underway for impacts from Tropical Storm Sally, many people may be preparing for the use of portable generators, should they lose power.

When used safely, they can be a huge benefit for running fans, refrigerators, freezers, charging phones and other electronics.

However, they can also be very dangerous if used improperly.

Here are some safety tips on using portable generators, from St. Tammany Fire Protection District No. 11.

  • Portable generators should always be used in well-ventilated locations outside that are at least 5 feet away from doors, windows, and any types of ventilation openings.
  • Ensure the exhaust fumes are vented away from the building.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even if the door is kept open. This does not offer
    sufficient ventilation.
  • Ensure the home has working carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms.
  • Turn off portable generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never fuel a portable
    generator while it running or while it is hot.
  • Store fuel for portable generators in a container intended for that purpose and never store fuel
    containers inside of living areas.
  • Plug appliances directly into the portable generator or heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord.
  • Inspect extension cords for cuts or tears and that the plug has all three prongs, especially the
    grounding pin.
  • If you intend to connect a portable generator directly to a house, ensure that installation is done by a qualified electrician with properly rated transfer switches.
  • If not installed or used properly, portable generators directly connected to a house could back feed into the power grid causing damage, injury, or death to electricity company personnel.

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