I read a post on my friends Facebook page and it was about someone who died as a result of a generator fire. He was a younger brother to a commissioner in his home state and this happened in December. He went to refuel his generator while it was still running, this caused an explosion that resulted in burns on over 80% of his body.
I mention his brother to let you know that even those in high places make the mistake this young man made. So what is the safest way to use a generator? Follow these simple tips and you should be relatively safe.
1. Have it installed by a qualified individual. I have seen connections that blow the mind. Exposed wires, wires that are not covered. Generators produce 230 Volts and the cables touching your skin, or any bare metal can be deadly. The same wires are at ground level. Not a good idea during the rainy season.
2. Install your generator away from the house. Generators produce carbon monoxide as a byproduct of burning gasoline. Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that has no smell. There are more deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning than from electrocution yearly. Store the generator in an area away from your living quarters.
3. Never refuel a hot generator. When your generator has run for a while, the engine and exhaust get very hot. All it takes is a drop of fuel on the exhaust or hot engine parts to ignite it. Please allow the engine to cool down before you refuel your generator.
4, Never refuel from an open container. I see people pour fuel from an improperly designed plastic container. I also see the same people not use a funnel or siphon. Please purchase a siphon. They are inexpensive and minimize fuel spills and accidental ignition.
5. Don’t store the fuel in the same room as the generator. This makes sense but most people don’t follow it. You increase your risk of fire or an explosion by having a source of fuel next to an ignition point. All it takes is a spark.
6. Have you generator serviced. This one is so important, yet most people don’t do it. A generator that is running well, has little chance of back firing or generating hot spots that can be potentially ignite. They also use less fuel, pollute less and last longer.
7. Avoid the cheap I better pass my neighbor. They are cheap, dangerous to you and your appliances. They don’t produce clean electricity and can damage your sensitive electronic devices. They pollute, are noisy and can self com-bust. If you must buy a generator spend a little extra and buy a good quality product.
We don’t advocate generator use, but we recognize that many people use them and we feel that if you follow these simple guidelines you will be relatively safe.