Use backup generators properly with care

Posted on Aug 30 2018 in Kankakee Valley REMC

Member and employee safety is a top priority at Kankakee Valley REMC, especially during dangerous times. When storms hit our area, we rush to your aid as soon as weather conditions allow our lineworkers to travel and make repairs safely.

Before our lineworkers are able to make repairs and restore power to all areas, many of our members use generators to have light and many of the other conveniences that we’ve all become accustomed to.

Generators can be dangerous and even deadly for lineworkers and homeowners if they are not used properly and with caution. Individual appliances can be plugged directly into a portable generator, but DO NOT plug a portable generator into a wall outlet to back feed the wiring system in the house. Did you know if not hooked up correctly with the use of a double throw or transfer switch, a generator, whether portable or permanent, can push power onto utility lines and energize them while lineworkers are repairing them?

Specialized grounding equipment can be used to help prevent this and keep lineworkers safe, but generator
back feed is still a danger to our lineworkers.

Also, be aware of the exhaust fumes from the gas-fueled engines powering the generators.

Always operate generators outside of the structure and not in any garage, whether attached or not.

Generators also shouldn’t be placed near any windows or intake vents for air handling systems.

Keep these additional safety tips in mind when using a generator:
• Make sure the generator is grounded. It is always a good idea to attach it to a portable ground fault circuit interrupter that will stop the flow of electricity if someone is being shocked.
• Never overload a generator. If you exceed the generator’s power rating, a fire could result.
• Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
• Never add fuel to a generator while its running.
• Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Just as a reminder, if you have a stationary standby generator installed at your location, Kankakee Valley REMC requires you to notify us and to have the transfer switch inspected by the county electrical inspector.

When the power goes out, having a generator means you can continue to enjoy the conveniences that electricity makes possible. But make sure you aren’t creating an unnecessary danger; please use your generator properly and safely.