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Portable Generators: Three Risks You Should Always Avoid

Portable generators are convenient, but can also be dangerous if used incorrectly. Stay safe with these helpful tips.
Date Posted: July 2, 2021

Portable Generator Safety Tips 

Portable generators are convenient when power is needed, but can also be hazardous if not used correctly. The largest dangers to avoid when using them are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, and fire. The United States Comsumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) offers these recommendations to prevent loss resulting from improper use of portable generators. 

1) Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards 

Always use generators outdoors, at least 15 feet away from buildings. Never use them inside your home or other enclosed areas and try to limit your exposure to the carbon monoxide released from the generator’s exhaust. 

2) Avoid Electrical Hazards 

Operate the generator on a dry surface where water cannot reach it. Plug appliances into the generator using a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This is known as backfeeding which can cause electrocution risk to others served by the same utility transformer. 

3) Avoid Fire Hazards  

Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool completely. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite. Always store fuel outside of living areas, away from fuel-burning systems. Fuel should be properly labeled in non-glass containers. 

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