- Office of Emergency Management
- Generator Safety Tips
Generator Safety Tips
Backup generators can provide an emergency power supply, enabling you to keep important equipment running during a power outage. It's important to make sure generators are properly installed and operated to prevent health and safety risks for you and utility crews.
How to Properly Operate a Generator
Exhaust from backup generators, both portable and stationary, contains a high level of carbon monoxide (CO) gas, which can be dangerous or even fatal if inhaled. Follow these steps and view the diagrams below to ensure you are properly operating your generator and avoiding contact with deadly CO:
- Always read and follow the manufacturer's operating instructions before running generator
- Engines emit carbon monoxide. Never use a generator inside your home, garage, crawl space, or other enclosed areas. Fatal fumes can build up, that neither a fan nor open doors and windows can provide enough fresh air.
- Only use your generator outdoors, away from open windows, vents, or doors.
- Use a battery-powered carbon monoxide detector in the area you’re running a generator.
- Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable. Allow the generator engine to cool at least 2 minutes before refueling and always use fresh gasoline. If you do not plan to use your generator in 30 days, don’t forget to stabilize the gas with fuel stabilizer.
- Maintain your generator according to the manufacturer’s maintenance schedule for peak performance and safety.
- Never operate the generator near combustible materials.
- If you have to use extension cords, be sure they are of the grounded type and are rated for the application. Coiled cords can get extremely hot; always uncoil cords and lay them in flat open locations.
- Never plug your generator directly into your home outlet. If you are connecting a generator into your home electrical system, have a qualified electrician install a Power Transfer Switch.
- Generators produce powerful voltage; never operate under wet conditions. Take precautions to protect your generator from exposure to rain and snow.