| Register

Generator Safety

The proper handling of portable generators ensures your safety.

In a power outage, a portable generator may be needed. But be careful - if not used properly, generators can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock, or fire.

If you run a portable generator in a power outage, follow these safety guidelines:

NEVER use a generator in an enclosed or partly enclosed space. Generators produce high levels of carbon monoxide quickly. You cannot smell or see carbon monoxide. It can be deadly.

If you feel sick, dizzy, or weak while using a generator, get fresh air right away. If you feel seriously ill, get immediate medical attention. Do not delay! Tell medical staff you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you became ill indoors, let the fire department determine when it is safe to re-enter the building.

Turn off electrical devices before you connect them to a generator or generator-powered circuit. After a generator is running, switch connected devices on one by one. Shut them down again before you switch back to Georgia Power service.

Carefully follow the manufacturer's technical information. Be sure your generator is rated for 240-volt loads, as well as 120-volt, if you hook up larger appliance like ranges, well pumps or dryers.

Inspect and maintain your generator. Keep fresh gas in the tank. Run the generator periodically so it's ready when you need it.

NEVER try to restore power to a house by plugging a generator into a wall outlet. This extremely dangerous practice - backfeeding - can electrocute repair crew workers or neighbors who use your same utility transformer. Backfeeding also bypasses household circuit protection devices, risking fire. (If you must connect the generator to house wiring for power, have a qualified electrician handle the installation in compliance with electrical codes.)

NEVER use a portable generator in rain or wet conditions. Operate a generator on a dry surface under an open structure (like a canopy). Dry your hands before you touch a generator.

Plug appliances directly into a generator. If you use an extension cord, make sure it is:

  • Heavy duty.

  • Outdoor-rated.

  • Rated (in watts or amps) at least equal to the total connected appliance loads.

  • Free of cuts or tears.

  • A cord with a three-pronged plug and a grounding pin.

Use permanently installed, stationary generators during power outages, if possible. They're best for backup power to a home. But watch for overloads. Too much demand on a generator can overheat it or stress its parts, causing a breakdown.