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Emergency Generators

After an emergency a generator can become a lifeline but with the added security of power, comes additional risks. When used properly generators can be lifesaving tools, but when not used properly generators can contribute to tragedies. Portable generators should never be directly hooked into home wiring for a number of reasons.

One of the biggest risks associated with generators is Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and deadly gas and can kill you before you even realize what is happening. You cannot smell, see or taste carbon monoxide gas. When runnning gasoline generators give off these deadly carbon dioxide fumes. The generator's exhaust must be vented outdoors, not in a garage or in an enclosed area. Generators should never be operated in a home, garage, or other enclosed building. Good ventilation for your generator is critical, not only for your health reasons but also because overheating will damage the generator.

Treat a generator like you would any other engine. Never shut off the generator when it is under load. Also never refuel a generator when it is hot. Fueling should only be done when the engine is off and cool. Always repair or service the generator with the engine stopped and the starting system of the generator disabled. On an automatic start generator, this means locking out the switch gear and automatic transfer switch. This makes sure that the generator does not try to start if an outage occurs while you are conducting the generator service.

When using a generator in wet conditions use extreme caution. The output voltage of a generator can cause a fatal electric shock. Treat the output cables or terminal box wiring of a generator with respect. Keep all guards and shields in place to protect the generator operator from moving parts.

When storing fuel for generators it is important to be conscious of fuel regulations. Stored fuel creates a fire and explosion hazard. Under the National Fire Code, only 5 liters of fuel can be stored in a residential dwelling, or 30 liters in a garage or shed. Generator owners are encouraged to contact their local Fire Department for the regulations in their specific area.

About the Author
Francesca Black has worked in the emergency services field for more than 10 years. More information available at Prepare for Emergency http://www.prepare-for-emergency.com

 
 
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