State Fire Marshal’s Office Issues Reminder About Generator Safety Following North Louisiana Severe Weather

BATON ROUGE- As power restoration efforts continue across north Louisiana following overnight severe weather, especially while intense heat plagues the state, the State Fire Marshal’s Office (SFM) is reemphasizing the importance of following key safety tips when using generators of all kinds.

“We know these storms have more than 100,000 people still without power,” said State Fire Marshal Chief Dan Wallis, “We also know people are trying to stay cool and clean up in extreme temperatures. So we are urging everyone using a generator right now to stop and check through this safety list before you continue using those generators.”

As a reminder, generators produce carbon monoxide (CO), which is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill without warning.

For homeowners utilizing whole-home, standby generators, the SFM recommends the following tips:

·      Have a CO monitor!
·       Give the generator a break once or twice a day to allow for any exhaust build-up around your home to clear
·       Open windows and doors during those breaks to allow for any CO build-up inside of your home to clear
·       Ensure your generator is being properly maintained including the oil change frequency requirements
·       Refer to your owner’s manual or contact your dealer or unit’s manufacturer if you have concerns or questions regarding proper installation or maintenance

If you are using a home standby generator and your CO monitor alarms:

  • Turn off the generator and open doors and windows to ventilate your home
  • Look for any air entry points into the home near your unit and ensure that those are properly closed and sealed off, such as windows or doors, air intakes, nearby dryer vents, or crawl spaces
  • Inspect your air filter for any dirt or debris residue and change the filter if found to be dirty
  • Check for anything around the unit that might be blocking airflow and remove the blockage

The following safety tips for the use of portable generators remain tried and true:

  • Do not place generators inside of any structure including garages, carports, and sheds, regardless of doors remaining open
  • Instead, place the generator at least 20 feet away from your home, and your neighbor’s home, downwind away from open doors, windows, and vents
    · Before refueling, turn the generator off and allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes
    ·       Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet
    ·       Instead, use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord to plug appliances into generators
    ·       Do not use in rain or wet conditions
    ·       Have a fire extinguisher nearby
    ·       Have a carbon monoxide monitor for your home!