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More generator safety tips

Courtesy Bayou Cane Fire Protection District
Posted at 7:35 PM, Sep 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-06 20:41:47-04

Since so many people are still without power after Hurricane Ida, the State Fire Marshal is offering safety tips for operating generators.

In addition to the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, there's also a risk of fire.

So far, dozens of people have reported to the emergency room with CO poisoning or other injuries related to generator use, and at least one person has died.

Those with whole-house standby generators also should take care.
Here are tips for safe operation of those appliances:

  • Be aware these standby generators have fire and safety hazards associated with them
  • Have a CO monitor
  • Give the generator a break once or twice a day to allow for any exhaust build up around your home to clear
  • Open windows and doors during those breaks to allow for any CO build up inside of your home to clear
  • Ensure your generator is being properly maintained including the oil change frequency requirements
  • Refer to your owner’s manual or contact your dealer or unit’s manufacturer if you have concerns or questions regarding proper installation or maintenance
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby
  • If you are using a home standby generator and your CO monitor alarms:
  • Turn off the generator and open doors and windows to ventilate your home
  • Look for any air entry points into the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off, such as windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents, or crawl spaces
  • Inspect your air filter for any dirt or debris residue and change the filter if found to be dirty
  • Check for anything around the unit that might be blocking airflow and remove the blockage

Here's a post from a Livingston Fire Department, after they responded to the third whole house generator fire of their day:

Here are the safety tips for portable generators:

  • DO NOT refuel your generator while it’s still running or just shut off
  • It can catch fire and splash that hot liquid back on you
  • There have been several house fires and burn injuries attributed to doing this, so please be patient, let you generator cool off for 20 minutes, then refuel.
  • Do not place generators inside of any structure including garages, carports and sheds (not even if the door is open fully or partially)
  • Instead, place the generator at least 20 feet away from your home, down-wind away from open doors, windows and vents (porches are too close)
  • Be mindful of the distance to your neighbor’s home too
  • Before refueling, turn the generator off and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes
  • Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet
  • Instead, use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord to plug appliances into generators
  • Do not use in rain or wet conditions
  • Have a fire extinguisher nearby
  • Have a carbon monoxide monitor for your home
  • Using a home standby generator
  • Have a CO monitor
  • Give the generator a break once or twice a day to allow for any exhaust build up around your home to clear
  • Open windows and doors during those breaks to allow for any CO build up inside of your home to clear
  • Ensure your generator is being properly maintained including the oil change frequency requirements
  • Refer to your owner’s manual or contact your dealer or unit’s manufacturer if you have concerns or questions regarding proper installation or maintenance
  • If you are using a home standby generator and your CO monitor alarms:
  • Turn off the generator and open doors and windows to ventilate your home
  • Look for any air entry points into the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off, such as windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents, or crawl spaces
  • Inspect your air filter for any dirt or debris residue and change the filter if found to be dirty
  • Check for anything around the unit that might be blocking airflow and remove the blockage

Here's the post