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11/5/2012 - Generator safety tips

Generators are powering numerous homes along the East Coast post-Sandy.

After millions of Americans were left without power for days on end in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, many homeowners are relying on emergency generators as a temporary solution to power their homes. While these generators are convenient, they may also be extremely deadly if not used properly.

Here are some generator safety tips from the U. S. Fire Administration (USFA) and the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) with simple steps you can take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper use of generators:

• Always thoroughly read the manufacturer’s instructions. This can help avoid dangerous shortcuts and assist you in ensuring safe operation of your generator.

• Never operate generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.

• Always keep generators away from all open windows – including neighbors' windows – so deadly exhaust does not enter the home or business.

• Install battery-operated carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions.

• Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure.

• Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord. Make sure entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.

• Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.

• Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.

For more information on generators, their use and how to safely handle them, read these USFA tips or click here

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