When power lines are down, residents can restore energy to their homes or other structures by using another power source such as a portable generator.
If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment, turn off the power at the main breaker or fuse on the service panel. Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.
If it is necessary to use a portable generator, manufacturer recommendations and specifications must be strictly followed. If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in installation and start-up activities.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Generator use is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Generators should always be positioned outside the structure in well ventilated areas.
Dangers of Backfeed
When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the “off” position prior to starting the generator.
This will prevent power lines or electrical systems in other buildings from being inadvertently energized at or near their original voltage by backfeed electrical energy from the generators and help protect utility line workers or other repair workers or people in neighboring buildings from possible electrocution. Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths. Following the safety guidelines above can reduce this risk.