PERSONAL PREPAREDNESS MESSAGE
By Ryan Lee, MT DES Continuity Coordinator
During long-term power outages many rely on portable generators for emergency power. The popularity of portable electric generators has grown with homes and small businesses across the nation. But it’s estimated only a small percentage are hooked up correctly. If installed and operated correctly, use of standby or portable electric generators poses little danger, but improper installation or use could be dangerous to you and threaten the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and electric utility crews trying to restore service.
Follow these tips for the safe operation and use of portable generators:
Avoid “Back Feeding”
- Turn the generator off and let it cool before refueling. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
- Store generator fuel in an approved safety can outside of living areas in a locked shed or other protected area. Local laws may restrict use or storage of fuel. Ask your local fire department for information.
- If you spill fuel or do not seal its container properly, invisible vapors can travel along the ground and be ignited by an appliance’s pilot light or arcs from electric switches in the appliance.
- Use the type of fuel recommended in the generator instructions or on its label.
Protect your appliances
- It’s important to drain the gasoline from the generator while it is being stored.
- It’s also a good idea to inspect the fuel and oil filters, spark plug, oil level and fuel quality and start the generator on a regular basis before an emergency situation happens.