When temporary or remote electric power is need, generators are very useful. Generators can also
be hazardous. The primary hazards to avoid when using a generator are carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from
the engine exhaust, electric shock or electrocution, and fire.
- Never use a generator indoors, including in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, and other
enclosed or partially-enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Opening doors and windows or using fans
will not prevent CO build-up in the home
- Follow the instructions that come with the generator. Locate the unit outdoors and away from doors,
windows, and vents that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery backup in your home, according
to the manufacturer's installation instructions. The CO alarms should be certified to the requirements of
the latest safety standards for CO alarms.
- Test your CO alarms frequently and replace dead batteries.
- Keep the generator dry and do not use in rain or wet conditions.
- Dry hands if wet before touching generator.
- Plug appliances directly into the generator.
- Never try to power the house by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. This is an extremely dangerous practice that presents an electocution risk to utlity workers and neighbors served by the same utility transformer.
- If you must connect the generator to the house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician
install the appropriate equipment.
- Never store fuel in the home.
- Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
Adapted from a report by the Consumer Product Safety Commision.