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How to Safely Operate a Backup Generator
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 our crews.
Safely Installing a GeneratorBefore installing your backup generator, follow all instructions in the manufacturer's written documentation, such as an operating manual, and all local building codes, especially regarding placement of the unit and safe electrical connections. Not following these precautions may result in hazardous conditions, including the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning or electrocution.
In addition, never connect a generator directly to your home's electrical system without a proper isolation device, a switch that disconnects your house from our power lines while your generator is operating, and vice versa. This applies to both portable generators and stationary units.
To have an isolation device installed, contact a qualified electrician. Unless our lines are positively isolated from your home, operating a generator connected into your home's wiring system could start a fire and/or electrocute a service crew member working to restore your power.
How to Properly Operate a GeneratorExhaust 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:? Read and follow the operator’s manual closely before operating your generator.? Locate the generator outside of your home and far away from windows, doors and vents. NEVER LOCATE A GENERATOR INSIDE YOUR HOME.? Direct exhaust away from windows, doors and vents.? Do not operate a generator in partially enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows for ventilation.? Install CO detectors/alarms throughout your home to ensure you are aware of the presence of CO gas. You cannot see, smell or taste CO.
Direct generator exhaust away from your home!
Warning Signs of Carbon Monoxide PoisoningUsing a backup generator presents the risk of CO poisoning or even death. Because you cannot see, smell or taste CO, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning.Symptoms of low-level CO poisoning can be similar to those of common illnesses, such as a cold, flu or food poisoning. These include:? Headache? Dizziness? Nausea? Fainting? Shortness of breath? Weakness
If you experience any of these symptoms, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention. Very high levels of CO can cause victims to quickly lose consciousness before they can rescue themselves. DO NOT attempt to shut off the generator before moving to fresh air. Entering an enclosed space where a generator is or has been running may put you at greater risk of CO poisoning.