More than 7 million people have lost power in the Northeast, and in some of those areas it will be days before electricity and gas service is restored.
If you’ve got a generator, you’ll be able to produce enough power for some of your needs, but know the generator you have and its capacity. If you’re lucky enough to have a backup generator already connected to your electrical system, you may be able to run your home normally.
But the small, portable gasoline-powered generators have limits. Before you gas up your unit, be sure to read all the directions to make sure you’re operating it safely.
Gasoline-powered generators emit carbon monoxide, and they should never be used inside or in enclosed areas, such as a garage or basement. You also don’t want to operate one near doors and windows.
- Put the generator as far from the house as possible and don’t operate it near open windows and doors.
- Have a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector operating in the house.
- Don’t operate the generator if you’re not home.
- Put the generator under a roof to keep it from getting wet. Don’t touch it if your hands are wet.
- Use extension cords designed for outdoor use and make sure the cords are in good repair.
- Don’t plug your generator into an outlet in your home. This could endanger the lives of your neighbors or utility repair workers.
- Let the generator cool down before refueling.
- Before hooking up big appliances, such as the refrigerator, check the power consumed by your refrigerator and the power created by your generator to make sure you have enough capacity.
- Be careful of sensitive electronic equipment and older, cheaper generators.
This article has more tips and a video on how to operate a generator safely.