Power Outages of any length often impact not only one person but also the entire effected community and its economy. During a power outage, one may expect the following to occur:
- A disruption to transportation.
- Minimized access to clean food and water.
- An interruption in telecommunications.
A Power Outage Occurred, Now What?
Immediately after an outage occurs, one of the main things to consider is the safety of yourself and others. Also keep in the mind and consider some of the following:
- Is there a need for immediate evacuation or the need for medical attention.
- Try and inform yourself about what has occurred. Many electrical companies provide status updates on when residents may expect the return of power.
- Keep freezers and refrigerators closed to reduce the time it takes for its contents to spoil.
- Always have an alternate plan for your medicine or power-dependent medical devices.Despite being a solid form of backup power, please keep in mind that when using a generator, be sure you are at least 20ft. from a building and its windows for maximum safety.
How To Use A Generator During An Outage
Having a portable source of power or a home backup generator is the most ideal situation during a power outage. A generator can improve your situation in a variety of ways:
- For home backup generators, depending on its available wattage; one may be able to maintain power at the residence and keep essential appliances running such as: medical equipment, freezers, emergency lighting, and much more.
- An inverter generator may be just as ideal because of its size and mobility. Being one of the more compact forms of portable power, an inverter generator will be able to provide power for common necessities such as charging your phone for emergency contact and even light appliances.
- Portable generators are solid units between both inverter generators and home backup units. Portable generators may often provide more power than inverter generators but in a smaller package in comparison to the latter.
Using A Generator During an Emergency Scenario:
Understanding Wattage and Power
- Be sure to check with the manufacturer's product manual to gain proper understanding of how to run and maintain your generator.
- Try and determine the amount of power you will need for your lights and appliances.
- Ensure that your generator produces more power than what will be used. If your generator does not produce enough power to run your lights and appliances all at once, try and stagger your usage to adjust to power available. *If your equipment requires more power than what is available, it is possible to blow a fuse on the generator or damage any attached equipment.
Practicing Generator Safety
- To prevent emissions from drifting indoors, always place your portable generator as far as possible away from the doors and windows.
- Try and point the generator exhaust away from any nearby people and place it downwind from your location.
- Carbon monoxide detectors will alert your family before toxic levels are reached. Be sure that your alarm is in working order.
- Never use generators indoors, incorrect usage can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. If you start to feel sick or lightheaded while the generator is in use, get to fresh air as soon as possible. For immediate assistance please contact your local emergency services.
- Store fuel in an approved safety can outside of living areas in a protected area. Be sure to check with local laws that may pertain to the storage of fuel.
- Be sure to fully seal any fuel container properly, for vapors may still linger and be ignited by a pilot light or other forms of electrical arcs.
- Always use the recommended type of fuel for your generator. Keep in mind that propane will store longer than gasoline.
- Never plug a generator directly to a wall outlet. This practice can harm utility workers or neighbors who are running of the same utility transformer.
- The safest way to connect a generator to your house is to have a power transfer switch installed.
- Using a stationary or backup/standby generator is the best way to provide backup power.
For major emergencies, please be sure to contact your local emergency services for immediate assistance.
Remember, when using a generator of any kind; it is important that you Take It Outside™. Learn more on how to properly run your generator.