Generator Safety

Generators are emergency equipment that provide a secondary source of power when there is an electric failure. Generators can be helpful during a power outage, but they present serious health and safety concerns.

Portable Generators

We recognize the worth of portable electric generators but they need to be used wisely. Portable electric generators can be hazardous if used improperly. Some of the hazards are:

  • carbon monoxide poisoning from the engine exhaust
  • electrocution from improper connections of the generator into the electrical wiring system.

Remember to always follow the directions provided by the manufacturer as well as your local electrical inspection agency and a licensed electrician. Never operate these devices except as intended by the manufacturer. Follow these general precautions to protect against carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages. Proper ventilation is essential.
  • Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area.
  • Keep the exhaust away from the air intake in the home.
  • Keep the unit protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed, or carport.

Follow these precautions to avoid electrical accidents:

  • Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
  • Observe the generator manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
  • Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
  • If it is necessary to connect the generator to the house wiring, always use a qualified electrician to properly install the standby electrical generator system.

If a temporary connection into the house wiring is necessary to operate permanently wired equipment, such as a well or lighting then it should be treated as a Wired-In Generator.

Standby or Wired-In Generators

If you own a generator and have it wired into your house, you must have a transfer switch to prevent electricity from feeding back on your service line and possibly injuring Rayle EMC employees who are trying to restore your power.

  • Have a qualified electrician install a manual transfer switch. A transfer switch permits the transfer of the load from the household power source over to the portable generator. The transfer switch should be certified by UL or other independent test labs for this application, and be mounted within an electrical enclosure. Transfer switches and related accessories designed for connecting a standby system are available from electrical supply, or home improvement stores.
  • When properly installed, the transfer switch will isolate the circuits supplied by the generator from those normally supplied by the utility. This prevents inadvertently energizing circuits in both systems and reduces the possibility of electrocution resulting from contact with conductors presumed to be de-energized.
  • Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator.
  • Do not store gasoline in the home. Gasoline, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled containers. They should not be stored in a garage that has a fuel-burning appliance. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or arcs caused by activating electric switches.

Follow all safety precautions and Be Safe!