Other Safety Tips
Precautions When Using a Generator
- Operate the generator outdoors – generators need lots of fresh air for proper cooling, and carbon monoxide exhaust fumes indoors can be fatal.
- Operate on a firm, level surface, out of any standing water. This is important for proper engine lubrication and accurate fuel readings, as well as electric safety.
- Store gasoline and other flammable liquids outside living areas in properly marked containers. These liquids should not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance is located there.
- Plug appliances into the generator using heavy duty, properly grounded extension cords.
- Use the generator only when necessary and do not overload it.
- Turn off the generator while you sleep and when you are away from home to avoid a possible fire hazard.
- Do not connect your generator directly into your home's main fuse box or circuit panel because it might "backfeed" into the electric system endangering utility workers.
- Follow all manufacturers' safety instructions in the operator's manual.
- Follow state, local and national fire and electric codes.
- Never refuel while the generator is running. Turn off and let cool for at least 10 minutes to minimize the danger of fire.
- Parts of the generator get hot during operation – keep children and pets away.
- Never install a larger or auxiliary fuel tank – generators need to cool off periodically. Also, check oil levels and air filters on a regular basis during prolonged operation.
- Protect the generator from rain and snow – a simple cover can be constructed from plywood and 2x4s.
- Check the oil level and air filter before each use and every time you refuel.
- Be sure the fuel is fresh. Old gasoline can separate if stored for long periods without a fuel stabilizer and will gum up your engine.
- Generators can be noisy – find a place where it will not disturb you or your neighbors, or buy one that offers quiet operation. Check county noise ordinances.
Outdoor Holiday Lighting Safety
- Make sure lights are rated for outdoor use. Never use indoor-rated lights outside. Always plug outside lights into an outlet with a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Outlets with GFCIs help protect you from serious shock if lights or tools have an electrical malfunction.
- Make sure the lights you use are tested and approved by Underwriter Laboratories. Read the manufacturer's specifications for how many strings of lights can be safely connected; too many lights attached together can overload a circuit, creating a fire hazard.
- Inspect lights and extension cords carefully. Look for cut or frayed wires, broken sockets and exposed wires. Replace or repair those items before use.
- Are you putting lights on the roof? Carry ladders and other equipment parallel to the ground. To avoid the risk of injury, before raising anything into the air, look up to be sure you're clear of power lines.