Storm Season Prep: Review Proper Use of Backup Generators

After Superstorm Sandy, you or your tenants may have obtained a backup generator for your building. Generators offer the convenience of using our everyday devices despite a prolonged power outage. They can even be life-saving in the case of hospitals or elderly persons who depend on oxygen machines. But they can be dangerous if used improperly. So before you fire up a backup generator, there are a few safety tips to keep in mind:

Tip #1: Place outside and strictly follow manufacturer recommendations. If it’s necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. And the generator should always be positioned outside the structure.

Tip #2: Be mindful of backfeed. This is to prevent electrocutions associated with portable generators plugged into household circuits. The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers. When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the “off” position before starting the generator.

For more tips and information on backup generators and what to do in times of disaster, see “Follow Five Safety Tips When Using Backup Generators After a Disaster,” available to subscribers here.