Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Residents Need to be Especially Careful When Using Generators During Power Outages

Fire officials are reminding residents of the following important safety tips when using a generator:   

- Never operate a generator in your home, garage, basement or any other enclosed area. The exhaust from a generator contains high levels of Carbon Monoxide (CO) which can build up quickly and lead to serious injury or death. 

- Proper ventilation is critical. A generator needs to be at least 15 to 20 feet from an enclosed area and away from any doors, windows and fresh air intakes where exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide can enter the home.

- Never plug your generator into an outlet, and don’t connect a generator directly into your home’s main fuse box or circuit panel.

- Make sure carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms have battery back-ups, are installed and are working properly. 

- Never fuel a generator while it is running. Turn off the generator and let it cool before refueling. 

- Keep generators away from all open windows – including your neighbors’ – so deadly exhaust does not enter.

- Always thoroughly read all manufacturer instructions. This can avoid dangerous shortcuts and assist in ensuring the safe operation of your generator. 
How to recognize a Carbon Monoxide Emergency:  Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms. If a CO poisoning is suspected, get to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.


Anonymous said...

What *is/are* the proscribed manner(s), then, for hooking up a portable, non-permanently-installed small generator to power a furnace, a refrigerator? Having an electrician wire a heavy duty harness plug to a breaker is one way it is done, then using a heavy gauge double male power cord from end to end connects the outdoor generator to the harness, unplugging a circuit from the main house electric source and running that circuit from the generator, yes? A small puttied hole through the block wall secures the cord.

Otherwise, one would have to run a fridge cord and plug to an extension cord and out a window, which would then not seal, and screens prevent this, and then the generator is too near a window with a crack open, or else a long regular outdoor gauge extension cord is introduced that isn't quite as heavy gauge as is otherwise available.

It is one thing to prohibit and caution about behaviors, but what clearly safe, insurance-approved/fire-fighter-approved (insurance agent said to ask the FC) methods *are* there, please?

Kind thanks!

billd said...

I would really have to defer to a bonded, licensed and insured electrician to answer your questions.

For a portable generator, usually following the manafacturers recommendations will work. There is only so much you can do with a portable one I know.