Storms or natural disasters can have the ability to knock your power out for an extended period of time. During an outage, portable generators can offer temporary power, but there are potential risks associated with the use of these generators. Generators can be dangerous, and can lead to illness and injury, and even death if used improperly.
When using a portable generator, it is important to take precautions for your safety and the safety of those in your home. Follow these guidelines for safe generator use:
Be sure your generator is connected correctly to avoid electrical and fire hazards
Electricity supplied by a generator has the same hazards as your regular utility-supplied electricity. You can face additional risks if your generator bypasses safety devices, such as circuit breakers, that are built into your electrical systems. Travelers recommends contacting an electrical contractor or the generator manufacturer for the proper installation of your generator.
Never operate a generator indoors
Generators should not be operated indoors, in garages or basements, or near windows, vents or doors. Your generator should be kept well away from your home or business. A minimum distance of 25 feet is recommended; however, you should check your local ordinances and the manufacturer’s recommended practices for additional information. Be sure to take your neighbors/neighboring businesses' windows, vents and doors into account when positioning your generator. The exhaust from a generator can build up carbon monoxide (CO) – a colorless, odorless toxic gas – that can cause severe illness or even death.
You should always use caution when refueling your portable generator. There is a risk of fire or getting burned because of the nature of the task. Follow these safety tips to ensure you properly refuel your generator.