Safety Tips For Generators and Heating

Countless people are without power in New Jersey after Sandy’s visit. Many homeowners have been using generators to power their house to survive in current living conditions. American Insurance Services Agency would like to take a moment and talk about some general safety tips for generators and other heating solutions.

For starters generators need to be placed away from the house in a
well-ventilated area so the fumes don’t come back in the home. Inhaling these fumes is very dangerous. Fuel must also be safely stored outside the home and away from heat

Some other tips to remember while using a generator:

· Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.

· Install carbon monoxide alarms if you’re going to use a
generator. If existing CO (or smoke) detectors are more than seven years
old, replace them.

· Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling them. Never refuel a generator while it is running.

· Store fuel for the generator in a container intended for
that purpose and correctly labeled. Store them outside of living areas.

· When plugging in appliances, make sure they are plugged
directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension
cord. Check the cord for cuts, tears and make sure the cord has all
three prongs. If connecting the generator to the house wiring, have a
qualified electrician install a properly rated transfer switch in
accordance with all codes.

· Never plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice,
known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility
workers, firefighters and others.

· Put an approved fireplace screen around open fireplaces to
keep materials from rolling out. Keep water or a fire extinguisher handy
in case something does come out.

· Maintain a three-foot safety zone around heaters or
fireplaces. No children or pets are allowed in this area. Anything
flammable, including logs, coal or fuel, needs to be outside the area.

· When cleaning out the fireplace or stove, put the ashes in a
metal container and place them outside the home until you’re sure they
are cool.

· Don’t use your charcoal grill to cook inside. It produces carbon monoxide.

· Don’t use your stove to heat your home. Where possible, use flashlights instead of candles. Open flames are dangerous.

· Remember to call 9-1-1 if you think something is wrong or if
you’re concerned that you have a fire. Don’t delay the response by
trying to remedy the situation yourself.

· Do discuss with your family two ways to get out of the house and where you’ll all meet up outside.

Clearly some of these tips may seem obvious to some, but it’s worth a review since
we’re all heating and cooking in ways that take us outside our usual
habits, and your safety is worth a few minutes to think about.

Stay safe! Stay warm!