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Due to the numerous hurricanes that have affected our communities in Miami Dade County, generators have become a common household item.
These gas-powered machines have brought a small bit of comfort to thousands of people in South Florida without power after the storms.
Along with the spike in generator sales, there has been a spike in generator-related emergencies such as Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning, structure fires from generator explosions, burns and other injuries. Most of these emergencies were preventable.
Even though most of us have been able to shut down our generators and put them away for now, there are still many residents without power. They need to keep safety in mind, and the rest of us should remember that hurricane season isn’t over until November 30th!
When operating a generator, keep the following in mind:
- All gas-powered engines emit Carbon Monoxide, a colorless, odorless gas that can build up to fatally toxic levels in the environment. Generators must only be operated outside of inhabited structures in a well-ventilated area and should never be placed anywhere near windows, doors, vents or other openings.
- If you’re going to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a generator, pitch in the extra twenty or thirty bucks for a CO detector. That’s a tremendous bargain for the life safety benefit.
- Never operate a generator on the balcony of a multi-unit structure. The boundaries of most balconies force you to place the generator way too close to your own living areas as well as those of your neighbors.
- Never attempt to refuel a generator while it is running or still hot. Turn it off and allow it to cool before adding fuel. Take extreme care not to spill fuel onto the generator or the surrounding area.
- Read your generator’s manual very carefully. Follow all directions and pay close attention to the electrical load rating. Never overload the generator.
- Never attempt to connect a portable generator to the main electrical panel in your home. Not only is this very dangerous for occupants, it is also fatally dangerous for electrical workers who are trying to restore power.
If you’re pretty sure you’re done with your generator (or at least hoping you’re done with it) here are some tips for safe storage:
- Store the generator in a dry, well-ventilated area with the fuel tank empty.
- Give it a good cleaning before storing. Remove traces of oil, dirt and other foreign matter.
- Do not store near fuel supplies.
- Do not store near appliances such as water heaters or pumps, especially if they are gas-powered.
- When you pull your generator out after any storage period, remember to inspect it carefully for broken or missing parts.
Don’t store your generator too far out of reach.Back to Top Page Last Edited: Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:12:03 AM
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