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Generator Safety

Portable generators are internal combustion engines used to generate electricity and are regularly utilized during disaster response. Portable generators can be dangerous if used incorrectly, even leading to carbon monoxide, even leading to carbon monoxide poisoning. Shocks and electrocution may result from improper use of power or accidentally energizing other electrical systems.

Carbon monoxide from the generator’s exhaust presents a potential hazard. Fires can occur from improperly refueling the generator or inappropriately storing fuel.

  • Inspect portable generators for damage or loose fuel lines that may have occurred during transportation and/or handling.
  • Always keep the generator dry.
  • Maintain and operate portable generators in accordance with the manufacturer’s safety instructions.
  • Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of a structure unless the generator has a properly installed transfer switch. Doing this presents a risk of electrocution for utility workers.
  • Always plug electrical appliances directly into the generator using the manufacturers supplied cords.
  • Use undamaged heavy duty extension cords that are grounded (3-pronged).
  • Before refueling, shut down the generator.
  • Never store fuel indoors.
  • Never use a generator indoors.
  • Never place a generator outdoors near doors, windows, or vents.