Generators can be an invaluable source of power following a major storm. However, the leading injuries reported following a hurricane are carbon monoxide poisoning and electrocution as the result of improper generator operation. To avoid risk to person and property, please observe the following safety precautions:
- Never connect a generator directly to the electrical system of any building without the installation of a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch as required by the National Electrical Code. Failure to use a transfer switch could result in electrical back feed onto the electric system which could result in death by electrocution of the general public or electric line crews working to restore power.
- Always ground the generator’s electrical system adequately to avoid electrocution.
- Always operate a generator in a clean, dry, well-ventilated area to avoid electrical shock and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Never use worn, damaged, undersized, or ungrounded extension cords with a generator.
- Place the generator on a low-conductivity surface such as a concrete slab before operating.
- Never exceed the load capacity of a generator by attaching too many items or items with very high load ratings which could result in a fire.
- Never attempt to refuel a generator while it is running or hot. Turn the engine off and allow it to cool before adding fuel. Have a fire extinguisher in the immediate area certified to handle fuel fires.