Generator Safety

long term power outage? Know how to protech your family before you turn on your generator.

Preventing Electrocutions When Plugged Into Household Circuits

If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment:

  • Turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel
  • Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician

Portable Generator Tips

When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source, such as a portable generator.

If using a portable generator:

  • Manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed
  • If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, contact a qualified electrician immediately
  • The generator should always be positioned outside the structure

Gasoline or Diesel-Powered Generators

If supplying power to a building via gasoline or diesel-powered generator:

  • Make sure the main breaker or fuse on the service panel is set to “off” prior to starting the generator
  • This will prevent power lines from being inadvertently energized by backfeed electrical energy from the generators, and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers, or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution

If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse:

  • The electrical current could reverse and go back through the circuit to the outside power grid
  • This will energize power lines or electrical systems in other buildings to at or near their original voltage without the knowledge of utility or other workers

Effects of Backfeed

  • The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is a potential risk for electrical energy workers
  • Electrocutions are the 5th leading cause of all reported occupational deaths
  • Following the safety guidelines can reduce this risk

Other Generator Hazards

  • Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
  • Generators should only be used in well ventilated areas