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in     by Laureen Weaver 7.16.2015
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Hawk-Eye Spotlight:  Palm Beach County Hurricane Survival Guide   

GENERATOR SAFETY

To prepare for possible power outages, you may consider purchasing a generator before hurricane season begins.  It can be helpful in restoring power to your refrigerator, lights, TVs and/or water pump.

Below are some generator tips:

  • Ensure you have the correct cords and connectors.
  • Don’t fill the fuel tank until right before the storm. (It can grow stale and is unsafe in a hot garage.)
  • If your generator uses a battery rather than a rope pull, ensure the battery is kept charged.
  • Protect the generator from coming in contact with water, and don’t let any protection impede air flow that cools the engine and generator.

Portable generators are useful when temporary or remote electric power is needed, but they also can be hazardous.  The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.  Every year, people die in incidents related to portable generator use.  Most of the incidents associated with portable generators involve CO poisoning from generators used indoors or in partially enclosed spaces.

CARBON MONOXIDE HAZARDS

NEVER use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.  Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless gas and is difficult to detect.  Opening doors and windows or using fans will NOT prevent CO buildup in the home.  Follow the instructions that come with your generator.  Locate the unit outdoors and away from doors, windows and vents that would allow CO to come indoors.  Install battery operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back up in your home, in accordance with the manufacturer’s installation instructions.  Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.

ELECTRICAL HAZARDS

NEVER try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet, a practice known as “backfeeding.”  This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electrocution risk to utility workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.  It also bypasses some of the built-in household circuit protection devices.

FIRE HAZARDS

Follow these steps to prevent fires:  Never store fuel for your generator in the home.  Gasoline, propane, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers that are securely strapped down prior to the storms arrival.  Do not store them near a fuel burning appliance, such as a natural gas water heater in a garage.  If the fuel is spilled or the container is not sealed properly, invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and can be ignited by the appliance’s pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.

BEFORE REFUELING THE GENERATOR, TURN IT OFF AND LET IT COOL DOWN.

GASOLINE SPILLED ON HOT ENGINE PARTS COULD IGNITE.

 www.readypbc.org

The Hawk-Eye Management team encourages you to continue to follow our “Hawk-Eye Happenings” updates for tips, checklists and helpful links for you and your family!  Careful preparation… “preparing for the worst, while hoping for the best” is our mission statement for Florida’s hurricane season and we hope you make it your family‘s motto too!!!  

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