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For Electric Cooperative Members
For Electric Cooperative Members

10 Do’s and Don’ts for Using Portable Generators

Poor decisions can turn these tools deadly

As much as your electric cooperative plans and prepares to prevent power outages, they can still happen because of circumstances out of our control.

If you’re planning to use a portable generator in the event of an outage, we remind you to do so safely.

With proper use and maintenance, portable generators can provide great convenience during an outage. However, when generators are used incorrectly, they are extremely dangerous.

Here are 10 do’s and don’ts to keep in mind when using portable generators:

1. DO: Install backup carbon monoxide alarms.

2. DO: Keep children and pets away from portable generators at all times.

3. DO: Position generators at least 25 feet outside the home—well away from doors, windows and vents that can allow deadly CO to enter the home.

4. DO: Ensure your generator is properly grounded. Use a portable ground-fault circuit interrupter to prevent electric shock injuries.

5. DO: Use three-pronged extension cords that are rated to handle the load of the generator. Inspect extension cords for damage before use.

6. DON’T: Operate a generator inside your home or an enclosed or even partially enclosed space. Generators produce high levels of deadly gas.

7. DON’T: Use generators in or near water, in the rain, or while wet. Water and electricity are a deadly combination.

8. DON’T: Rely on generators as a full-time source of power. They should only be used temporarily or in emergency situations.

9. DON’T: Overload generators. They should only be used to power essential equipment. Make sure your generator can handle the load of the items you plan to power.

10. DON’T: Connect generators directly into household wiring unless you have an appropriate transfer switch installed. If a generator is connected to a home’s wiring without a transfer switch, power can backfeed along power lines and electrocute your neighbors or utility lineworkers making repairs.