Portable Generator Safety Tips

Consumers should know that portable generators can be hazardous if used improperly. The hazards are:

  • Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning from the toxic engine exhaust.
  • Electrocution from connecting the generator to the home electrical wiring system.
To Avoid Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning:
  • Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages.
  • Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed, or carport.
To Avoid Electrocution:
  • Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
  • Observe the generator manufacturer's instructions for safe operation.
  • Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
  • If connecting the generator into the house wiring is necessary, have a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system, or have the local utility install a linking device if available.

Never Store Gasoline in the Home:

Gasoline, kerosene and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass safety containers. They should also not be stored in a garage if a fuel-burning appliance in the garage. The vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or arcs caused by activating electric switches.

Content Provided By the DOE