in a Power Failure
There are some terrific Portable Generators on the market, and they can come in handy during a Disaster or Emergency situation.
There are some considerations of which you should be aware in using a Generator, or before purchasing a Generator.
Purchasing a Generator
♦ You need to decide what you want to run off a generator during a Disaster or Emergency situation. It may be a light, a television so you can stay tuned to your local news channel, or a VCR or DVD to play movies for the children. You may have a disabled person in the family who needs electrical devices for treatment, a fan, or a small refrigerator.
Once you Have a Plan, make a list, and figure out how much power you want to run. Then purchase a generator that is rated over the amount of power. This will help in the initial surge put out by the generator.
If you cannot find a generator with more power than what you will run, consider running your equipment is shifts or get two small generators. Check with the manufacturer or a licensed electrician for assistance.
If you run too much off one generator, you could damage it and all the devices you have running off it.
♦ Make sure the unit is UL (Underwriter's Laboratory) listed.
Hazards to consider when Running a Generator.
► Safety should always be your First Consideration!
Make sure you know how to properly use your generator. Read all the directions, contact the manufacturer or a licensed electrician for help. Do not put you or your loved ones at risk of illness or death by using a generation improperly.
♦ Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, Electrocution and Fire are all possible
if using a generator improperly.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
♦ Always place the generator outside, and away from doors, windows and vents.
Never use a generator inside, in the basement, in the garage, or outside under a covered patio.
♦ The toxic engine exhaust from a generator contains Carbon Monoxide (CO gas). This gas is deadly if inhaled in large enough quantities. CO gas is colorless and odorless. CO gas is a silent killer. If you start to feel dizzy, sick or weak, Call 9-1-1 and get to an area away from the generator with as much fresh air as possible.
♦ To avoid electrocution, always keep the generator on a flat dry surface. If there is any moisture in the air (from a fog to rain), place a covering above the unit, such as a pop-up, or a tarp on poles.
The covering must be an open canopy type.
♦ Always handle the generator with dry hands.
♦ When refueling a generator, make sure it has had a chance to cool down. Protect your hands by wearing gloves. If you spill gas on a hot engine, even a drop or two, the gas could explode. This could cause a fire or serious burns to you.
♦ Use the fuel recommended by the manufacturer. Keep the extra fuel in an approved safety container. Keep the fuel outside, and away from any other fuel burning appliances, such as your water heater. If any of the gas fumes escape from the container, and make contact with a pilot light, you can cause an explosion and fire. An arc form electrical switches can cause the same situation.
♦ Check with your local Fire Department or city officials to find out if it is allowed to keep extra fuel and how much is allowed. If possible, keep the extra fuel in a locked shed so that it is not accessible to children or pets.
Using your Generator
♦ "Back-feeding" is the term used when you plug the generator into your homes electrical system to run your appliances. This can bypass some of the built in household protective devices, and can cause a risk of electrocution to anyone (neighbors and utility workers) who is serviced by the same utility transformer.
♦ Instead, plug the appliances you wish to use into the generator itself. Be careful not to overload the unit.
General Safety Tips
♦ Along with your Smoke Detectors, install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in your home. There are some models that are a combination. Use the type that runs on batteries. If you have the type that is hard wired into your electrically system, make sure they have a battery back up for when the power goes out. Otherwise, they will not work. Test the units once a month, and change the batteries twice a year.
♦ Have a Fire Extinguisher nearby when using a generator. Check with your Fire Department on the best type to have, how many and where you should keep them. They can also show you how to use them properly.