Generators can help restore your life to near normal levels during a power outage, but caution is needed to use them safely:

  • Always keep portable generators outdoors. Do not run them inside a garage or any enclosed space, and keep them at least 15 feet away from any open windows—yours or your neighbors.
  • Keep the generator dry and under an open canopy in order to avoid electrocution.
  • Hire a licensed electrician to install a transfer connection for the portable generator. Do not plug the generator into existing electrical receptacles in your house. Doing so can cause a back-feed of power into other electrical appliances, which can result in fire.

Safety Issues

  • Carbon monoxide poisoning from engine exhaust is a common and serious danger that can result in death if generators are used improperly, in particular, if the fuel is not burned completely.
  • Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless. Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home and check the battery life monthly.

Fuel

  • Store fuel outdoors in an approved storage container. Contact your local fire department for information on approved storage containers and how to properly store fuel.
  • Always turn the generator off and let the engine cool before refueling.
  • Do not store fuel near the generator while it is running.