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Outdoor Power Equipment Safety

Operating Your Power Generator Safely

When using a portable generator for emergency power, it is important to be aware of potential hazards. Always keep these basic guidelines in mind when running your generator outside of your home so that you operate it responsibly and safely

ALWAYS Operate Your Portable Generator Outdoors
Generator exhaust contains carbon monoxide that can be lethal in minutes. ALWAYS run your generator outside of your home, and keep it far from any windows, doors, vents, or other openings that can allow exhaust to enter your home.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. Seek fresh air immediately if you experience any of these symptoms. CO detectors can act as an additional safeguard to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning.

Be Mindful of Fire Hazards
Gasoline is extremely flammable and explosive. Always keep your generator as far as possible from any open flames or objects that can generate heat. Fuel vapors can travel long distances to flammable sources.
 
In addition, avoid overfilling the fuel tank: Fuel overflow can cause a hot engine to catch fire or explode. Only refuel your generator after shutting it down and giving it time to cool.
 
Make sure you store your gasoline in an approved container in a cool, dry location away from flames, heat or other ignition sources.
 
Finally, make sure you choose the right extension cords [link to extension cord article] for use with your portable generator. When used improperly, the cord can overheat and catch fire.
 
Prevent Electrical Shock Hazards
Never operate your generator in the rain or on a wet surface. Electricity and water don’t mix!
 
Also, never plug a generator directly into your home’s wiring via an electrical outlet. This is called backfeeding, and not only can it cause electric shocks and damage to your home’s wiring, it can send electricity back through the utility lines and injure or kill line workers who are trying to restore electric power. Instead, you should have a transfer switch installed by a qualified electrician. This is the only safe way to connect your portable generator to your home’s electrical system.

Additional Safety Tips

  • Always read the owner’s manual before operating your generator.
  • Generators produce heat. Avoid direct skin contact with hot components.
  • When storing your generator, disconnect the spark plug wire to prevent accidental starting.
  • Always keep children away from your generator.
  • Inspect your generator regularly for safe operation, and only repair or replace parts from your nearest authorized dealer.

Safe Operation for a Safer Environment.

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