Generator Safety

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CARBON COUNTY -- There's plenty of generators powering homes in Northeastern Pennsylvania. Keeping families warm, powering stoves and microwaves, and helping to charge phones, but the fumes those generators give off are deadly.

The power's been out here in Carbon County since Monday along route 534.

Karen Rice and Bertram Berk have been escaping to their motor home near Jim Thorpe. With generator power, they said it's their home away from home.

"We`ve been watching movies, and like I said hot meals, hot showers, it`s our home away from home so it`s been perfect," said Rice.

Here at Cramer's Hardware, a generator is powering lights for their store until the power comes back. They sold out of these machines before Sandy hit the state.

"We were probably sold out on Monday morning before 8 a.m. before the storm hit. Once we got some new generators in, they all went within probably an hour to two hours tops.  We had people waiting in line and coming in," said Vice President of Operations Kyle Nasatka.

Before you power up a portable generator, PPL said there's some safety tips people need to know:

  • Never plug a portable electric generator into a wall outlet or connect directly to a home`s wiring
  • Don't overload the unit
  • Use proper extension cords
  • Keep the unit it a well ventilated area

"Put it outside, put it away from the house, especially away from doors or windows so the exhaust does not go into the house," said Penn Forest Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 President Tom Whiteley.

Berk lived through category four hurricanes in Florida, and said he takes every precaution possible.

"Absolutely, don`t run the generator at night, make sure you have smoke detectors and yep, Carbon monoxide detectors in the motor home.  Be very careful with it," said Berk.

If you`re not sure how to run a generator like this one it`s important to ask questions, because you could be putting more than just yourself at risk.

"I think most people think well I`m ok, I can just plug it in. If you don`t have what`s called a transfer switch in your house so it stops the electric from flowing back in. It could create a problem for somebody or electrocute them," said Nasatka.

It comes with as many dangers as conveniences. Officials ask that you're careful while waiting for these crews.

Follow this link for more generator safety tips.