BOSSIER, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – In the aftermath of Hurricane Laura more people died from carbon monoxide poisoning than from the hurricane itself. A device designed to bring you some comfort during a power outage can be deadly if not used properly.
With more than 200-thousand customers still without power across the state, it’s important to know safety tips before operating a generator.
Don Tubbs with Tubbs Hardware in Bossier has been selling portable generators for decades. He said people rush to buy them during power outages so they need to understand how they work.
Starting with, do not run your generator in the rain. Generators use gasoline, diesel, or propane to conduct electricity so it’s dangerous around water.
“Turn your generator off and let it cool before you gas it up or diesel it up because we don’t want it to be a flame or hazard, a spark to take place and then your holding a gas can in your hands like this and you’ve got a bomb in your hands,” Tubbs said.
He said the biggest problem he sees is people back feeding generators, by plugging them directly into a home’s electrical panel.
“Never ever back feed your house with a generator. We had a lot people come in from down south during this hurricane and they seem to be kind of comfortable with back feeding their home with a generator. Us up here in North Louisiana tell them never, ever do that because it’s dangerous,” Tubbs said.
He said you need to use a transfer switch instead. Which powers certain breakers you want on, such as your refrigerator, air conditioner, and freezer. He said a licensed electrician can set up your transfer switch, and it’s wise to do this before the next big weather event.
He said it’s important to make sure the generator is away from your home with the fumes pointing away. People die from carbon monoxide poisoning so it’s vital to make sure the exhaust flows away from your home and your neighbor’s and you have a carbon monoxide detector. Plus check your cord.
“Make sure you have a heavy duty extension cord. We recommend you use and outdoor 12 gauge wire, extension cord of course three wire,” Tubbs said.
He adds, make sure you keep plenty of gas on hand when you’re running a generator so you don’t run out. Check the oil before adding gas so it doesn’t burn up the engine.
A generator can be a life saving device during uncertain times that you want to certain about.