Portable generators can help you weather the storm in comfort, but can present severe safety risks including fire, electrical shock or carbon monoxide poisoning if used or connected incorrectly.
MISSISSAUGA, ON, Dec. 22, 2013 /CNW/ - Ontario's Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is reminding Ontarians to exercise caution and follow safety rules when using portable generators to cope with extended power outages due to the recent ice storm.
Portable generators can provide security and comfort during power outages. However, they can create electrical shock and fire hazards if connected or used incorrectly. In addition, you should never operate a generator inside your home or garage. Generators produce carbon monoxide, and if used indoors will cause a build-up of fatal fumes - fans or open windows and doors won't provide enough fresh air to keep you and your family safe.
Follow these tips to ensure you're using your generator safely:
- Never use a generator indoors; use it in a dry area outdoors and away from open doors, windows and vents.
- Check the generator and all component parts to ensure that they have been approved by a recognized certification agency. Approved marks can be found at www.esasafe.com/electricalproducts/marks.
- Portable generators that are permanently installed into your electrical wiring must have a transfer device to protect your home and the utility system by preventing generator power from flowing back into the utility system. You must take out an electrical permit to permanently connect a generator to your home's electrical system. ESA strongly recommends hiring a Licensed Electrical Contractor (LEC) to ensure your generator is installed correctly. You can find an LEC near you using the ESA's contractor lookup tool at www.esasafe.com.
- Never connect portable generators to electrical appliances or wiring components that have been affected by flood water.
- If you have to use extension cords, make sure they are the grounded type with three prongs and rated for how you're planning to use them. Coiled cords can get extremely hot; always uncoil cords and lay them flat.
- Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable. Allow the generator engine to cool at least 2 minutes before refueling and always use fresh gasoline.
For more information on electrical safety when stormy weather hits, visit: www.esasafe.com/powerlinesafety/your-community/winter-storm-safety.
About the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA)
The Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) is an administrative authority acting on behalf of the Government of Ontario with specific responsibilities under the Electricity Act and the Safety and Consumer Statutes Administration Act. As part of its mandate, ESA is responsible for administering regulation in four key areas: the Ontario Electrical Safety Code; licensing of Electrical Contractors and Master Electricians; electrical distribution safety; and electrical product safety.
SOURCE: Electrical Safety Authority
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