WAUKESHA, Wis., June 29, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Last week severe summer storms and tornadoes along the East Coast and Midwest left behind a trail of damage, downed power lines and widespread power outages. The storms are essential reminders that preparation is key to staying safe this summer storm season. To ensure you are prepared, follow these tips:
- Charge your electronics before the storm hits. No one can predict if the power will go out during or after a storm, so charge your cell phone, computer and other electronic devices in advance. Put new batteries in flashlights and have a backup case of batteries in a watertight container.
- Stock up on essentials. Having drinking water, three days of non-perishable food, extra batteries and waterproof emergency numbers on hand is a smart idea on its own and will come in extra handy if you can't leave your house or you have no power. If you have little ones, create an activity box full of games, cards and books to keep them busy—and yourself stress-free—during a storm.
- Remove all outdoor furniture prior to the storm. Patio furniture, plants, trashcans and children's toys can become airborne in high winds and damage your house. Put them in a garage or shed.
- Have a backup generator installed. Unlike portable generators, which are a popular option to stay powered during summer storms, automatic home backup generators, like those from Generac, are a safer choice, and turn on automatically when the power goes out. And they don't require refueling, which could be a problem if local gas stations are also without power. Automatic standby generators remain on until power is returned, giving you and your family peace of mind and a sense of safety and security during severe storms and extended power outages.
Even days after the storms ended, tens of thousands of Americans in affected areas continue to face ongoing blackouts. For those who don't have a permanently installed generator, portable generators are the only option to continue with life as usual. Many need reminders on safe operation of generators to help avoid further tragedies resulting from carbon monoxide or fire issues. For detailed generator safety tips, please see below.
Operate your Generac generator safely and avoid these risks:
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas. CO is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. Never operate a portable generator indoors, in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
- Always use generators outdoors, a safe distance away from doors, windows and vents.
Fires are a danger when you improperly use a generator power source or deal with fuel.
- Follow the manufacturer's guidelines for safe generator operation.
- Practice fire safety with generators by not blocking exhausts and intakes.
- 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 away from any fuel-burning appliance.
Electrical Hazards can also occur if you use your generator improperly. NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet to provide emergency power to your home. This practice, known as backfeeding, creates an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer and is a violation of national electric codes.
- Keep the generator dry, and dry your hands before touching the generator.
- Operate the generator on a dry, flat surface.
- Use heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cords that are in good repair and free of cuts or tears. Follow manufacturer guidelines regarding maximum length of the extension cords to avoid damage to the cord, your appliances, or your generator.
- If necessary to connect the generator directly to your home's electrical system to power appliances, use a Generac manual transfer switch and have it installed by a Generac dealer or qualified electrician.
"Our weather has become very unstable and it reminds us all that severe weather and power outages can affect people no matter where they live, anywhere in the country, and many times with very little warning. The only way to stay safe is to prepare ahead of time and take the proper safety precautions," Clement Feng, senior vice president, Generac, said.
Generac's storm preparedness experts are available to talk about the safe operation of portable generators and summer storm preparedness. Please let us know if you'd like an interview, additional safety and preparedness tips, still photos or video.
Since 1959, Generac has been a leading designer and manufacturer of a wide range of generators and other engine-powered products. As a leader in power equipment serving residential, light commercial, industrial and construction markets, Generac's products are available through a broad network of independent dealers, retailers, wholesalers and equipment rental companies. The company markets and distributes its products primarily under its Generac and Magnum brand names. Generac is committed to developing a long-term vision that promotes environmentally responsible products, processes and partnerships and strives to be a positive contributor of sustainable growth in the power equipment industry. For more information on Generac, please visit http://www.Generac.com. Follow Generac on Twitter @generacpowersys. Become a fan on Facebook at www.facebook.com/generacpowersystems. For more information on Magnum, please visit http://www.m-p-llc.com/.