|Safe Installation of Backup Generators
A backup generator can be a real life saver or killer
“Sorry…we’re all sold out.” These are words that became very familiar to those shopping for generators in stores in central and southern Illinois during December’s ice storm. This ice storm caused one of the worst power outages to hit this area in many years.
So what do you do when your electricity goes out? Many people powered up the generator they already had or they were lucky enough to find a store that still had them for sale. This brings a situation of good news-bad news. The good news is that most electric cooperatives welcome the safe use of backup generators by co-op members. Some electric cooperatives even have generators for sale. The bad news is that there have been serious injuries and even fatalities because of the improper use of generators.
If you have already purchased a generator, or are thinking about it, we want you to know and take proper safety steps before operating an electric generator in your home or business.
First and foremost, properly connecting a generator into the electrical system is a critical step for safe use. A transfer safety switch to prevent a flow of electricity back through the lines must be used with your generator. This prevents “back feed” of electricity through lines that may be having work done on them. It is our recommendation that you have a licensed professional electrician install your standby generator.
Another consideration of safely using a generator is the fact that a generator emits deadly exhaust fumes that can enter living spaces if placed too closely to the living environment. Always keep the generator outside in a dry protected area.
Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas produced by incomplete burning of fuel, such as propane, kerosene, gasoline, oil, natural gas, wood and charcoal. Several tragic deaths have been caused by carbon monoxide already this year. A new Illinois law calls for homes to be protected with carbon monoxide detectors. Although this is not required in all-electric homes with detached garages, it still might be a good idea if you might ever need to use supplemental heat or a generator.
A few other reminders about using a generator safely include:
Linemen from across Illinois and surrounding states worked long hours in dangerous and cold conditions to repair miles of line downed by the terrible December ice storm. We are proud of their dedication. We are grateful that, except for a few scrapes and bruises, no one was hurt seriously. Please, please, please make sure you keep your family safe during the next extended power outage. One will surely come again someday.
|For more information|
For more information be sure to visit www.safeelectricity.org.
Ken Macken, Manager of Safety and Loss Control for the Association of Illinois Electric Cooperatives, firstname.lastname@example.org, 217‑241-7933.