Generator Safety

Safety Tips

Home generators provide limited power during a prolonged power outage. Use them to keep a refrigerator cold, run a fan, recharge your cell phone, or operate a microwave oven. Generators can help make your storm recovery more comfortable, but they can also kill if not used correctly. Read instructions carefully and fully understand how to use your specific generator.

Read more about the hazards associated with generators and some safety tips to avoid them:
  • Carbon monoxide (CO): CO is a colorless, odorless gas produced from burning fuel that is deadly in very small amounts.
    • Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows, and vents. Never use them in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
    • Install battery-operated or battery-backup carbon monoxide alarms in your home. Test these alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
  • Electrical hazards: Generators create electricity, which can kill if you receive a shock.
    • If necessary to connect generator to house wiring for appliances, have a qualified electrician install needed equipment and teach you how to use it.
    • Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface in an open area. Dry your hands before handling it.
    • Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
    • Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cord that is free of cuts or tears and has all three prongs, especially a grounding pin.
  • Fire hazards: Generators use flammable fuels, increasing the chance of an accidental fire that can threaten your life and property.
    • Always store fuel outside of living areas in labeled containers.
    • Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool.
    • Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance

Contact Us

If you have additional questions concerning generator safety following a natural disaster or emergency situation, please contact the Office of Emergency Management at (203) 854-0238.