Louisiana is no stranger to bad weather, and when destructive wind and storms strike the state, sometimes the electricity may go out for prolonged periods of time. Many state residents possess a portable generator on hand for such scenarios. However, if used improperly, portable generators present serious safety risks. Understanding how portable generators operate is crucial to safeguarding a home and family from life-threatening dangers.
Safe Electricity.org points out that portable generators should never be used indoors. This includes anywhere inside your house or even in your garage. While operating, generators vent carbon monoxide, an odorless gas that can be deadly to human beings and animals. Generators need open air to disperse the carbon monoxide so that the gas is not trapped under a roof. Even partially enclosed areas can trap carbon monoxide.
Also keep in mind that generators are not a full time substitute for your normal electrical flow. Generators are for temporary use and only for select appliances. When using a generator, do not plug it into your wall. Use extension cords from your appliances to the generator. Also, do not plug in the appliances and then start the generator. Turn on the generator first and then plug in the appliances one at a time to avoid overloading the generator.
FEMA.gov also warns users not to keep their generator fuel inside their home. This includes propane, diesel, gasoline, kerosene, or anything that is flammable. Generator fuel, if spilled, can leak vapors that could be ignited by electrical switch arcs or stove fires. Fuel can also pose a fire hazard if the container it is stored in is not sealed properly.
Finally, FEMA recommends that users read the manufacturer’s instructions carefully before using a generator. Check for the written instructions that accompany the generator as well as any notices written on the generator’s box. Also look for any and all warning labels that are placed on the generator itself.