By: Kim Bowe
Every year, people die from accidents related to improper generator use. If your severe weather preparations include a generator, take a minute to read and remind those you love about generator safety – it may just save a life.
Generator hazards, such as carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock or electrocution and fire, pose a serious risk not only to you but also to your neighbors and our power restoration crews.
Choosing a generator is not as simple as just selecting what is in your price range. You must first determine your power requirement needs and choose a generator that produces at least 25 percent more power than the total load that will be connected. Have a licensed electrical contractor confirm that you have selected the correct generator size and have them make sure it is installed correctly. A poorly connected generator can cause backfeed, which can lead to a fire or risk of electrocution.
Speaking of improperly connected, did you know that you should never plug a portable generator into a wall outlet? It could damage your home’s wiring!
After your generator is properly installed, how can you ensure that you do not make a dangerous mistake while operating your generator? Read your owner’s manual carefully following all manufacturer instructions and precautions before starting and operating your generator.
One of the biggest dangers created by improper generator use is inadequate ventilation. A generator needs to be kept away from enclosed areas to keep exhaust fumes and carbon monoxide from entering the home. Never use a generator inside your home, garage, basement or enclosed patio. A temporary canopy can help keep the generator dry outside. Moreover, portable generators should be placed as far as possible from any doors, windows or fresh air intakes.
Unfortunately, our team has firsthand experience finding a homeowner operating a poorly ventilated generator. Luckily, Consumers Energy employee Travis Fry was able to save Michelle Seifer of Livingston County before she lost her life. Now Michelle wants others to learn from her experience:
Now we know that your generator only powers on when there is a power outage. Our crews work to get your electricity back on as quickly and safely as possible. Please do your part to help send them home safely — have your generator inspected by a licensed electrical contractor and follow all generator safety guidelines.