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Use Your Generator Safely

Tips from local safety expert—and Warren deputy mayor—Vic Sordillo.

The following safety points for proper generator use were submitted by Warren Township Deputy Mayor Vic Sordillo, who is a safety expert at Chubb Commericial Insurance. 

He noted carbon monoxide is produced by sources such as gasoline generators, furnaces, automobiles and fireplaces.

"It is poisonous. It is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas," he said. "Hundreds of people die each year from exposure. Symptoms include headaches, nausea and fatigue."

Keep these points un mind when using a generator:

  • Never use a generator indoors—including a garage.
  • Keep the generator exhaust system from areas that could allow the gases to enter an open door or window. Have battery operated Carbon Monoxide detectors installed in your home.
  • Test the unit and replace the batteries annually or as recommended by the manufacturer. 

Gasoline is highly flammable and must be handled and stored with care. Only store gasoline in approved containers such as Underwriters Laboratories (UL).

  • Do not store or transport gasoline in containers without the caps on tightly.
  • Do not smoke around gasoline.
  • Do not overfill generators—avoid spilling.
  • Do not fill generators when running.
  • Do not place containers near heated surfaces. 

Avoid electrical shock and injury.  

  • Do not connect power from generators to your home electrical system.  This must be performed by a licensed electrician.
  • Do not overload the generator.
  • Inspect electric cords for damage. 
  • Do not use damaged cords.
  • Ensure that the generator is grounded. 

Use common sense and do not take risks. 

Call the fire department if you have any questions or experience and problems.  Get to fresh air if you have symptoms of CO poisoning. 

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