Follow these generator tips to keep you and your family safe when the lights go out

Important safety tips to follow when using a generator during a power outage

BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - Many of us are used to the sound of a humming generator during hurricane season, but that doesn’t mean we should get too lax with generator safety.

When things go dark, the generator lights up, but when this machine goes to work, you can’t forget to put in the right prep or your situation may go south quickly.

“We’ve had far too many people killed by carbon monoxide poisoning after Laura,” said Governor John Bel Edwards in a press conference held Sept. 13.

Gov. Edwards reminds us that a roaring generator puts out a silent killer: carbon monoxide. State Fire Marshal Butch Browning warns if it leaks into your home, you won’t see or smell it.

“Basically, when you breathe it, if you’re already sleeping, it puts you in a deeper sleep and it causes you to die,” said Browning. “And if you’re awake, large amounts of carbon monoxide gas can make you lethargic and put you to sleep and of course, you can succumb to that.”

A working, battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm inside your home can warn you if the gas fills up the space.

Don Harriford from Home Depot on Coursey Boulevard says avoid the danger and keep the generator outside.

“You need to make sure that generator is in a well-ventilated area,” said the store’s assistant manager. “Absolutely do not bring it into the home.”

Don’t put it near a window, a door, or a vent either. Buy the right extension cords so you can stretch the power from outside to inside.

“A cord you don’t want to use is a sixteen-gauge extension cord,” said Harriford.

He says stick to the 12 or 14-gauge cords and be aware of hot spots. The generator’s exhaust can seriously burn your skin if you’re too close. It can also catch fire if you don’t give it time to breathe.

“You need to let that generator cool because gas is a very flammable liquid, and you don’t want to try to refill it while that generator is hot,” said Harriford.

Harriford says a little research, homework, or even asking for help at your local hardware store can go a long way to make sure you buy the right generator and accessories for your home.

A hot generator can keep things cool for your family, but only as long as you follow the safety tips to keep everything running smoothly.

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