Public Service Annoucements

Portable Generator Safety

About 3,500 Americans die each year in fires and about 20,000 are injured. 

You can stop the fire before it starts. Use this fact sheet to learn how to prevent a fire in your home and know what to do if you have a fire.

Stop a portable generator fire, before it starts:

  • Always use generators outside away from doors, windows, and vents. NEVER use generators inside buildings or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation. 
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for use. 
  • Keep the generator dry. Place the generator on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure. 
  • Dry your hands before touching the generator. 
  • Plug appliances directly into the generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord. Make sure the entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all three prongs; especially a grounding pin. 
  • NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This can cause utility workers and others using the same transformer to receive a shock and die because of the electricity. 
  • If you must connect a generator to house wiring, have an electrician add the appropriate equipment. Your utility company may be able to put in an appropriate transfer switch as well. 
  • Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could burst into flames. 
  • Store fuel outside of living areas in clearly labeled, non-glass containers, away from fuel-burning appliances. 
  • Put battery-operated or plug-in (with battery backup) carbon monoxide alarms in your home, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Test carbon monoxide detectors often and replace batteries when needed. 

Be prepared for a fire:

One of the best ways to protect yourself and your family is to have a working smoke alarm. A smoke alarm greatly reduces your chances of dying in a fire. 

Prepare an escape plan and practice it often. Make sure everyone in your family knows at least two (2) escape routes from their bedrooms.