Tips for portable power use
(Family Features) Whether used to energize summer fun or provide electricity in the aftermath of a storm, there are multiple ways portable generators can be a solution for seasonal power needs.
Portable generators can provide reliable backup power for outdoor recreational activities, as well as protection for you and your family from sudden power outages during severe weather. From adding music and lighting at an outdoor celebration to keeping essentials like refrigerators and fans running during a weather-related power loss, a portable generator can be a convenient and versatile source of portable power.
However, it can become dangerous when misused due to the risk of carbon monoxide buildup.
“When used properly, a portable generator is a true safety asset and convenient power source for a more enjoyable summer,” said Susan Orenga, executive director of the Portable Generator Manufacturers’ Association (PGMA). “Like many devices designed to improve our lives, portable generators do pose some risks when misused that can be minimized through proper handling and taking the appropriate safety precautions.”
To help mitigate the carbon monoxide-related hazards related to portable generator use, PGMA looks to educate consumers through its Take It Outside campaign and these tips:
- Never run a portable generator indoors, including garages, basements, crawl spaces, breezeways, sheds or other partially enclosed spaces.
- Always place a portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces. This includes tents and campers.
- Know that you cannot smell, see or taste carbon monoxide so you may not be aware of a dangerous buildup until it is occurring.
- If you feel sick, dizzy or weak while using your portable generator, get to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention.
- Always refer to the generator's owner's manual for further information about safe operation and potential hazards.
Although these tips apply to all portable generators, consumers looking to purchase a generator can find enhanced safety through models that comply with the ANSI/PGMA G300 standard, which includes carbon monoxide sensors and shut-off features to address carbon monoxide buildup.
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