FEMA shares generator tips to keep Floridians without power safe

Brendan Flowe, Sales and Marketing Manager for Tools, joins us to discuss how to safely use generators during the storm.

Many Floridians are using portable generators after Hurricane Ian wreaked havoc on the peninsula. Generators can provide a temporary source of power during an electric outage, but if used inappropriately, they can turn hazardous.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency wants to remind people who are using generators after being left without electricity to be aware of the safety concerns while using a generator.

According to FEMA, generators can be hazardous because of the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, fire or electrocution.

FEMA recommends users read the manufacturer’s instructions on how to use the generator.

Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Do not assume you are safe. Carbon monoxide from generators is colorless and odorless.
  • Do not use a generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces including homes, garages and crawl spaces, even those areas with partial ventilation.
  • Do not operate near open doors and windows. Using fans will not prevent carbon monoxide build-up in the home.
  • Install battery-powered carbon monoxide alarms inside your home.

Electrocution or electric shock

  • Always connect the generator to appliances with heavy-duty extension cords.
  • Hooking up your generator directly into your home power supply could increase the voltage or could cause a surge to the outside power lines and potentially injure or electrocute an unaware utility lineman. It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices. Connecting the generator to your home could cause a surge in electricity that might result in injury or death to yourself or your family.
  • Use a qualified electrician to install the appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical codes or ask your utility company to install an appropriate power transfer switch.

Fire

  • Keep your generator outside and fuel your generator outside.
  • Do not store fuel for your generator in your house.
  • Do not store fuel near a fuel-burning appliance, for example, a gas stove.
  • If fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches.
  • Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline or other flammable liquids spilled on hot engine parts could ignite, and invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and be ignited by the generator’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.