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Generator Safety

Generators are machines that make electricity. You can use them if the electricity in your home goes off. If you have a generator, you can keep your food cold and safe to eat, keep your house warm enough or cool enough for your family and keep machines working if you have special medical needs.

There are two kinds of generators. One kind starts by itself if the electricity goes off. You do not have to be at home. These generators run off of the gas in your home. The electricity goes through the wires in your home. These are called permanently installed standby generators.

The other kind of generator is one that you must start yourself. You have to be home to start it. You put it where you want it—in a safe place—and then turn it on when the power goes off. These are called portable generators.

Follow the tips below to use generators safely:

Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Always read the Owner’s Manual and instructions for your generator.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Carefully follow all instructions and warnings in order to safely start and operate the generator. Do not cut corners when it comes to safety.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Permanently installed automatic standby generators are the safest way to provide backup power to your home.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Portable generators will also provide electricity for your home when the power goes out. But you have to know how to use them safely.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Portable generators can produce carbon monoxide, or CO. CO is a poisonous gas. You cannot see it or smell it, or taste it. It can hurt or even kill you.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • The most important thing is to put your portable generator in the right place. It should always be used outdoors. It should be placed away from open windows.
  • Never use a portable generator indoors or in any enclosed space, such as a garage. This can cause a dangerous build-up of CO gas.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Be careful when you refuel generators to avoid starting a fire or getting burned.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Be sure the generator is connected correctly.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Never try to power the house wiring by “backfeeding” the generator into a wall outlet. This can put utility workers and neighbors in danger.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • After starting a generator wait 10 seconds for the power to stabilize. Then plug in your appliances. This helps avoid electrical shocks.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Always read the owner’s manual to learn how to use your portable generator safely.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • Follow all the safety rules in the owner’s manual.
Home Safety - Generator Safety
  • When using a generator always have a battery operated Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm in your home. CO alarms will warn you if there is a dangerous level of gas in your home.
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