Generator Safety Tips

Generator Safety Tips
Portable Generator Hazards
A Factsheet on Portable Generator Safety
P
ortable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they
can be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using them are carbon monoxide
poisoning, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
The U. S. Fire Administration (USFA) would like you to know that there are simple steps you can
take to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper use of portable generators.
TO AVOID CARBON
MONOXIDE HAZARDS:
TO AVOID ELECTRICAL
HAZARDS:
•Always use generators outdoors,
away from doors, windows and
vents.
•Keep the generator dry. Operate
on a dry surface under an open,
canopy-like structure.
•NEVER use generators in homes,
garages, basements, crawl spaces,
or other enclosed or partially
enclosed areas, even with
ventilation.
•Dry your hands before touching
the generator.
•Follow manufacturer’s
instructions.
•Install battery-operated or plugin (with battery backup) carbon
monoxide (CO) alarms in your
home, following manufacturer’s
instructions.
•Test CO alarms often and replace
batteries when needed.
•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.
•If necessary to connect generator
to house wiring to power
appliances, have a qualified
electrician install appropriate
equipment. Or, your utility
company may be able to install an
appropriate transfer switch.
TO AVOID FIRE HAZARDS:
•Before refueling the generator,
turn it off and let it cool. Fuel
spilled on hot engine parts could
ignite.
•Always store fuel outside of living
areas in properly labeled, nonglass containers.
•Store fuel away from any fuelburning appliance.
For more information contact:
The U. S. Fire Administration
16825 South Seton Avenue
Emmitsburg, MD 21727
or
Visit the USFA Web site:
www.usfa.fema.gov
Homeland
Security
March 2006
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