Portable electric generators can be a source of power for heat, light, refrigeration and cooking during electrical outages. But, if generators are improperly installed or operated, they can become deadly. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions for generator operation. These safety awareness tips from the Electrical Safety Foundation International can prevent injury or death from improper generator use:
- Never operate the generator in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. Generators can produce high levels of carbon monoxide very quickly, which can be deadly. Use carbon monoxide detectors in nearby enclosed spaces to monitor air quality while generators are running.
- Do not connect generators directly to household wiring without an appropriate transfer switch installed. Power from generators connected directly to household wiring can backfeed along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including linemen making repairs.
- Do not overload the generator. A portable generator should be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment or appliances.