Generator Safety Tips for Hurricane Season

Hurricane season has arrived, so you and your family should be checking evacuation routes, stocking up on water, and replacing the batteries in your flashlights. A less popularized hurricane preparation task is also one of the most important: generator safety. Generator safety needs to be top of mind before, during, and after a storm to keep your house & family protected. If it has been a while since you touched that old generator collecting dust in your garage, or if you are considering buying a generator, follow these tips to make your generator experience a safe one.

Before a Storm

  • If you are looking to purchase a generator, it is essential to know how much wattage you will be using. Make a list of the items you would plan to power with a generator during a storm. Total up the wattage of each appliance on your list. That is the minimum amount of power the generator you’re looking to purchase will need.
  • Generators emit a deadly amount of carbon monoxide. Make sure your home and garage have battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms installed so you can detect any dangerous amounts of emissions. Carbon monoxide alarms can be purchased at most home improvement stores.
  • To ensure your generator works when you need it most, be sure to perform regular oil changes.
  • After purchasing a generator, test it out before you store it. Familiarizing yourself with how a generator operates is crucial before a storm hits.

During a Storm

  • Never bring your generator into your home and keep it as far away from your windows and vents as possible. When finding a position for your generator, it is crucial that the area is dry, well-ventilated, level, and away from your home. The ideal location would be under a large covered area such as an open shed.
  • Always allow your generator to cool a few minutes before refueling. A hot generator and gasoline make for a dangerous combination. Always store gasoline outside of the home, a safe distance away from the generator, and in a well-ventilated area.
     
  • Plug in necessities first. Though your family might want to plug in their cellphones, laptops, or favorite accessories, it is important to only plug in key items needed during a power outage. Plug in each item one at a time so you can check the total wattage as you add more appliances. Be sure the total wattage you're using is less than the output recommended for your generator.
     
  • Never plug your generator into your home's electrical outlet. Generators are meant to supply a limited amount of power, and trying to power your entire home through a generator could permanently damage your generator.
  • The exterior of a generator becomes very hot even in a short period of time. Anyone operating the generator should use protective gear, and children should be kept away at all times.
  • Make sure your hands and feet are dry before touching or starting the generator. Try to avoid standing near wet areas or puddles when operating your generator.

After a Storm

  • Before shutting a generator down, disconnect items one at a time.
  • Store any remaining fuel away from your home in well-ventilated areas in approved storage containers.

A generator can  power essential devices and help return a sense of normalcy after a storm. For more information on how to protect your home before a storm check out: How to Protect Your Home Before a Storm