1. Generator Use If using a generator at home, please be aware of the following safety tips from WMECO, especially that you should never connect the generator to your home’s main electrical panel.
Use qualified electrician to install a stationary or stand-by emergency generator.
Install a special safety transfer switch, required by the National Electric Code. The switch prevents the generator from back-feeding electricity onto the power lines which could be deadly to unsuspecting workers.
Read and adhere to the manufacturer's instructions for safe operation. Don't cut corners when it comes to safety. Carefully read and observe all instructions in your portable electric generator's owner manual, and always follow state, local, and national fire and electric codes.
Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.
Keep children and pets away from portable electric generators at all times.
Always operate generators outdoors to avoid the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide fumes. Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house. Only operate it outdoors in a well-ventilated, dry area, and ensure you have protected it from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed or carport.
Connect the generator to your home's main electrical panel. Again, you could be putting your life and that of your family and our workers in jeopardy.
Plug a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet. Plugging a generator into a regular household outlet can energize "dead" power lines and injure neighbors or utility workers.
Overload the generator. Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator. Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics, so you must prioritize your needs. A portable electric generator should also be used only when necessary, and only to power essential equipment.
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2. Before Your Power Comes Back
· Turn off and unplug all unnecessary electrical equipment, including sensitive electronics.
· Turn off or disconnect any appliances (like stoves), equipment or electronics you were using when the power went out. When power comes back on, surges or spikes can damage equipment.
· Leave one light turned on so you’ll know when the power comes back on.
· Do not touch any electrical power lines and keep your family away from them. Report downed power lines to the appropriate officials in your area. Both WMECO and National Grid have online reporting systems.
3. Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are on the rise due to the use of alternative heat and energy sources. Please be sure you and your families are aware of the following:
· Carbon monoxide, found in combustion fumes, is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death.
· Sources of carbon monoxide in the home include malfunctioning furnaces, water heaters, ovens, stoves, gas-fired dryers, clogged chimneys, corroded flue pipes, and unvented space heaters. Automobiles left running in attached garages also pose a hazard, even if the garage doors are open.
· CO from these combustion fumes can build up in places that don’t have a good flow of fresh air.
· Common symptoms of CO poisoning: headache, fatigue, nausea and dizziness, vomiting, chest pain and confusion.
· Infants, children and unborn babies are especially vulnerable.
Tips to protect you against CO poisoning:
· Never use a stove for heating.
· Do not use a grill, generator or camping stove inside your home, garage or near a window.
· Never leave a car, SUV, or motorcycle engine running inside a garage, even if the garage door is open.
· Install a CO alarm outside every sleeping area and on every level of your home.
· Place CO alarms at least 15 feet away from every fuel-burning appliance to reduce the number of nuisance alarms.
· Make sure alarms can be heard when you test them and practice an escape plan with your entire family.
If your CO alarm goes off:
· Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible into fresh air. Then call for help from a neighbor’s home or a cell phone outside of your home.
· If someone is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms, call 911 for medical attention.
· If no one is experiencing symptoms, call the fire department. They will let you know when it is safe to re-enter your home.
· For more information on carbon monoxide, visit www.cdc.gov/Features/TimeChangeCODetectors.