How to Safely Operate Backup Generators in Hurricanes

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It’s been a rough year for people living on the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. The 2017 hurricane season has been one of the most active on record. Those in badly affected areas have turned to backup generators for temporary power.

Outages are common during hurricanes. Without the use of portable power, the recovery process would be much more difficult and drawn out.

Homeowners depend on generators to power appliances, lights and other electronics that provide basic needs during and after a hurricane. However, there are potential risks if a generator is not used properly.

Taking a few simple safety precautions will ensure the safety of you and your family. Here are some things to keep in mind when operating backup generators.

Location Matters For Your Backup Generators

Generators emit engine exhaust containing carbon monoxide gas. Inhaling carbon monoxide can cause headaches, blackouts and even death. In fact, a number of carbon monoxide deaths and injuries occurred during Hurricane Irma as a result of generator use.

It’s imperative you don’t run your device in a completely enclosed area. They should also be placed at least 15 feet from open windows. You should even avoid operating them on porches, as the fumes can linger in the air.

Avoiding Electrical Or Fire Hazards

Before operating, you’ll need to disconnect your normal source of power to avoid sending power back into the utility lines. This could be potentially hazardous to utility workers.

Backup generators should never be used in wet conditions. Make sure you place the equipment in a dry area and never operate it with wet hands.

This can present a problem when using a generator in a huge storm like a hurricane. In rainy conditions, make sure you run your generator under a stable canopy so it doesn’t get wet.

Never attempt to power your home’s wiring by plugging the generator into a wall socket. Doing this causes a serious risk of electrocution to anyone served by the same circuit.

Remember to store fuel for your device outside your home and away from any fuel-burning appliances to avoid potential fires. Always turn off your generator and let it cool down before adding more fuel.

Using An Extension Cord

Sometimes you can’t plug every appliance directly into the generator and will need to use an extension cord. When doing so, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Always use a heavy-duty cord designed for outdoor use. The wattage rating for your cord should exceed the total wattage for all appliances connected to it.

It’s also important to check for any tears or cuts in the cord and that all prongs are intact. Make sure the cord is long enough and doesn’t get crushed or pinched while in use.

Using Backup Generators Responsibly

Portable generators have helped tremendously during this treacherous hurricane season. Following these precautions along with the instruction manual for your device will ensure you and your family remain safe.

Rental Power Solutions provides temporary and backup power generator rentals in the Miami area. Contact us today to discuss your options.