Preparation is key when it comes to portable generators. Before the storms arrive, familiarize yourself with the following safety tips to make sure you can properly operate and maintain your generator before it’s called into action.
Always plug appliances directly into generators. Connecting the generator to a home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a qualified, licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent backfeeding.
Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring unless the home has been wired for generator use. This can cause backfeeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with the generator. Have a licensed electrician install the equipment to safely connect emergency generators.
Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down. Keep the generator dry on a flat, dry surface under an open structure, and never fuel a generator while it is operating.
Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords free of cuts or tears, and be sure that the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances. Look at the labels on lighting, appliances and equipment to determine the amount of power needed to operate the equipment.