This article has been updated from a Mansfield-Storrs Patch post originally published in August 2011.
With thousands of people in Mansfield without power due to Hurricane Sandy's wrath, now is as good a time as any to remind residents to use caution while operating their generators.
The following information has been provided by the Town of Mansfield:
To Avoid Carbon Monoxide Hazards:
- Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents. NEVER use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. Follow manufacturer's instructions. Install battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home following manufacturer's instructions. Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
To Avoid Electrical Hazards:
- Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy like structure. Dry your hands before touching the generator. Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor rated extension cord. Make sure entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin. NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer. If necessary to connect the generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install the appropriate transfer switch.
To Avoid Fire Hazards:
- Use a generator or other fuel-powered machines outside the home. CO fumes are odorless and can quickly overwhelm you indoors. Use the appropriate sized and type power cords to carry the electric load. Overloaded cords can overheat and cause fires. Never run cords under rugs or carpets where heat might build up or damage to a cord may go unnoticed. Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite. Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, non-glass containers. Store fuel away from any fuel-burning appliance.