NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH: Generator Safety Tips

September is #NationalPreparednessMonth, and we're sharing some useful tips to help you prepare for emergencies. The 2020 Ready.gov #NPM theme is: "Disasters Don’t Wait. Make Your Plan Today." It's important to think ahead so you can better prepare for when disaster strikes. 

During powerful storms, you can expect plenty of power outages, some lasting several days. Investing in a backup generator is a must when working on your disaster prep checklist. 

A generator can power your entire home, keep the food in your refrigerator fresh, charge your mobile devices so you can stay connected and up-to-date on the news, and offer your family a sense of comfort during a time of catastrophe.

HOME STANDBY VS. BACKUP GENERATORS:

There are two types of generators: Home standby generators and portable generators.

Home standby generators have the benefit of being worry-free, because they turn on automatically during an outage, can run for several days/weeks without refueling, and they’re usually weatherproof. The downside is that they’re more expensive — not only to purchase, but also to install. 

Portable generators are a more affordable option, and can power as much as a standby unit when connected to your home’s circuit breaker panel via a transfer switch. With 13,000 starting watts and 10,500 running watts, the DuroMax XP13000EH can effortlessly power your entire home. Portable units also offer versatility, which means you can use them on the job site and on camping/RV trips.

Once you’ve decided which generator works best for you, it’s important to learn how to use them safely.

GENERATOR SAFETY DOs AND DON’Ts:

CARBON MONOXIDE + VENTILATION 

  • DO set up your generator outdoors and away from any structure. Keep them at least 15 feet away from open windows so exhaust does not enter your home or a neighboring home.
  • DON’T run your generator inside an enclosed or partially enclosed structure. This can lead to fatal levels of carbon monoxide.
  • DO install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms. Even if you can’t smell exhaust fumes, you could still be exposed to harmful carbon monoxide. Our All-New HX Series features our CO Alert Technology, which automatically shut down the generator if an unsafe level of carbon monoxide is detected.



ELECTROCUTION HAZARDS

  • DO disconnect your normal source of power before operating your generator. Otherwise, power from your generator could return to utility company lines, injuring utility workers severely.
  • DON’T plug the generator into a wall outlet or the main electrical panel.
  • DON’T use your generator in wet conditions. Only run your generator on a dry surface. When it’s raining, set it up under an open canopy-like structure outside, and make sure your hands are dry when operating.
  • DO make sure your generator is properly grounded to prevent shocks and electrocution.
  • DO plug equipment directly into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure they’re in good condition and have a wire gauge that can handle the electric load of connected appliances.
  • DON’T overload your generator. Doing this can damage your appliances and electronics. Prioritize your needs, and DON’T exceed the output rating of your generator.
  • DO hire a licensed electrician to install an approved automatic transfer switch and connect your generator to a main electrical panel. This way, you can disconnect your home’s wiring from the utility system before you use the generator.

GASOLINE AND FUELING SAFETY

  • DO make sure you have a good supply of fuel. Learn how much fuel your generator consumes and different output levels, and consider how much fuel you can store safely and for how long. Our Dual Fuel technology allows our generators (such as the DuroMax XP12000EH) to run on propane, which is more efficient, less expensive, and can be stored for up to 30 years. 
  • DO store fuel in a cool, dry, and well-ventilated place.
  • DO turn the generator off and wait for it to cool before refueling.
  • DON’T overfill your tank. This can cause the fuel to overflow onto a hot engine and start a fire or explosion.
  • DON’T store your generator with fuel in the tank where gasoline vapors could reach an open flame, spark, or pilot light.
  • DON’T smoke near fuel or your generator.



GENERATOR MAINTENANCE 

  • DO inspect and maintain your generator regularly, especially before storm season starts. Check the tank, pipes, and valves for cracks and leaks. If there are any leaks or cracks, make sure to replace damaged materials immediately.
  • DO protect your generator from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting. We offer a variety of weather-resistant covers in different sizes to suit your needs.
  • DO operate your generator on level surfaces where it won’t be exposed to excessive moisture, dirt, dust, or corrosive vapors.
  • DO disconnect the spark plug wire when setting up, transporting, adjusting, or making repairs to your generator to avoid accidental startup.

What are some of your generator safety tips? Share them with us!