February 28, 2013
While personal generators can keep essential home systems running during a power outage, they also pose a risk. Two siblings in Kansas City, Kan., died Feb. 26 as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning due to a running generator in the garage. Alice Oropeza, 69, and Nick Oropeza, 58, turned on the generator following a power outage from the winter storm.
The Kansas City Fire Department is urging residents to use caution when operating a generator. Below are KCFD’s safety tips:
•Carefully follow all manufacturers’ instructions for installation and operation.
•Always operate generators outdoors to avoid the buildup of deadly carbon monoxide fumes.
•Never connect to your home’s main electrical panel or plug it directly into a household outlet.
•Home appliances not permanently wired to the electrical system can be powered directly from the generator through a heavy-duty UL rated extension cord (less than 100 ft. to prevent power loss and overheating).
•Your best option is to have a qualified electrician install a special safety transfer switch required by the National Electric Code. The switch prevents the generator from back-feeding electricity into the power lines and possibly causing injury or death to unsuspecting workers trying to restore power.
•Stand in a dry place and have dry hands when operating a generator.
Reminder: Call toll-free 1-888-LIGHTKC (1-888-544-4852) to report outages, flickering lights, lines down or other damage-related problems.