generator safety

In the fall and winter, generators can be a very useful piece of equipment. Many people and businesses own standby generators in case a storm or other incident knocks power out. Others use portable generators to provide heat for cold weather trailer camping. Whatever type of generator you are using, it is important to understand the dangers they can present with improper usage including carbon monoxide poisoning, electrocution or fire. Use generator safety tips to help keep you and your family safe.

If you were injured in a generator accident, contact a personal injury lawyer right away. The attorney will determine whether you have a products liability or other case and fight for the settlement that you deserve.

Top generator safety tips

  • If you suspect that you were exposed to carbon monoxide, call 911 immediately. Reduce your risk of carbon monoxide exposure with these safety tips:
    • Always setup your generator outdoors in a fully ventilated area. Partially-enclosed areas can still accumulate carbon monoxide.
    • If you are using a generator because of a power outage; do not install it near a window, door or vents.
    • Install carbon monoxide detectors (CO alarms) near where you store the generator and inside your home. Test them on a regular basis.
  • If you were electrocuted, call 911 immediately. Reduce your risk of electrocution with these safety tips:
    • Do not operate your generator in wet conditions. To protect the generator from moisture, place it on top of a dry surface and cover it with an open, canopy-like structure such as a tarp.
    • Never touch your generator with wet or damp hands.
    • If you need to run appliances from a generator, either plug them directly into it or use a heavy-duty three-pronged outdoor extension cord with a grounding pin that’s rated (in watts or amps) at or above the sum of the loads of your connected appliances. Check that your extension cord doesn’t have any cuts or tears.
  • If you are experiencing a fire, call 911 immediately. Reduce your risk of fire with these safety tips:
    • Your generator should be setup at least 10 feet from any combustible surface when in use.
    • Only fuel your generator when it is turned off and fully cooled down. Fuel that is accidentally spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.
    • Only use the fuel type recommended by the generator’s manufacturer instructions or label.
    • Store generator fuel in an approved safety can, away from fuel-burning appliances.
  • General safety tips:
    • When installation is complete, in Washington State call PSE at 1-888-225-5773 to let the energy company know about your generator.
    • Always follow all safety instructions provided by the manufacturer.
    • Only use a generator that will meet your power needs. If you attempt to draw more power than the generator can produce; you could blow a fuse, damage the connected equipment or cause an even bigger accident.

Protect line workers from “backfeeding.” Never plug a generator into your home’s electrical wiring, as electricity will flow through your meter to the outside transformer and into connected power lines. This is called “backfeeding” and poses a potentially fatal shock hazard to line workers who may be trying to restore power during an outage. A professional should be hired to install a standby generator for your home; he will connect the generator by a transfer switch that is in accordance with federal, state and local electrical codes.

If you or a loved one is dealing with an accident or injury, you have enough on your plate. Let an experienced accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times bigger with the help of a lawyer. Call the caring accident attorneys at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!