Sunday, April 21, 2024

As inclement weather threatens power grids, know how to safety use generators and space heaters

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management has some tips for people who use generators during periods of inclement weather. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Unsplash)

As the region gears up for more inclement weather this weekend, there also arises the possibility of losing power.

The Virginia Department of Emergency Management is urging residents to take special precautions while using portable generators and heaters.

“Over the past several days, there have been numerous house fires and carbon monoxide-related illnesses reported throughout the state due to portable generators and heaters,” a news release from emergency management said.

Here are some safety tips in case you have to break out the generator.

  • Generators should be used in well-ventilated locations outside, at least 20 feet away from all doors, windows and vent openings. Measure the 20-foot distance from the generator exhaust system to the building.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors or other openings in the building. The exhaust must be directed away from the building.
  • Make sure to install carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for correct placement and mounting height.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is hot.

Safety tips for using a portable space heater:

  • Choose a heater with the seal of a qualified testing laboratory.
  • Keep the heater at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn, including people.
  • Choose a heater with a thermostat and overheat protection.
  • Place the heater on a solid, flat surface.
  • Make sure your heater has an auto shut-off to turn the heater off if it tips over.
  • Keep space heaters out of the way of foot traffic. Never block an exit.
  • Keep children away from the space heater.
  • Plug the heater directly into the wall outlet. Never use an extension cord.
  • Space heaters should be turned off and unplugged when you leave the room or go to bed.

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