When the power goes out, a generator can make life after a storm more comfortable. But, if used incorrectly, a generator can also kill you.
On average, 70 people are killed by generators every year. For perspective, in 2020, the leading cause of death from Hurricane Laura was generators
The primary hazard to avoid when running a generator is carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust. The generator should never run inside your garage. It should be at least 6 feet away from your home and away from any door or window, with the exhaust facing away from your home.
You can avoid electrocution by keeping the generator dry. You should never operate it in rain or standing water. And make sure to check all connections and extension cords for cracks or exposed wires.
At some point, the fuel in the tank will run out. Use extreme caution when refilling the tank. Never fill a hot or running generator. And be sure to turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling.
When using the generator, keep in mind you might have to stagger times for different appliances to prevent it from overloading.
And something you can do now: make sure to give the motor and the generator a spin before the storm hits. If you can’t remember the last time the oil was changed, change it now.