Generators for Back-up Power

Everyday Providence blogger, Jennifer, shares her experiences and insight from last week's storm.

1.) The time to buy a generator is before you need it.

2.) Think through a power outage scenario and evaluate what you need to keep powered in an emergency – medical equipment, freezer, refrigerator, small window air conditioner (in the event of life-threatening heat) or at least a fan, cell phone chargers, radios and televisions (for news of course), lamps, etc.

3.)  Add up the wattage.  Generators are rated by the maximum wattage they can supply.  If you try to plug in too much, it won’t work.  Keep your needs to a minimum and don't plan to use the maximum wattage constantly.  However, you should buy the smallest generator that you’ll need.  It will use less fuel.

4.) Make sure to get the accessories that you need – extension cords rated for the load they are supporting, and a fuel container.  Make sure that the fuel container is large enough.  Know how much fuel the generator uses an hour and how long it will run on a full tank.

5.) Operate your generator outside – NEVER inside or in an attached garage.  Let your extension cords put plenty of space between you and your generator. We had many reports up here of CO poisoning from improper use.

6.) Keep your CO detectors working with battery backups.

7.) NEVER plug a generator into an outlet to back-feed the house.  This can create a deadly situation for linemen trying to fix power lines.

8.) Remember that your freezer will stay frozen for 48 hours.  If there are compounding problems – fuel shortages, blocked roads – frequently bring your freezer back up and running until it’s at its normal temperature, then shut it off.

9.) Don’t run your generator unattended – don’t leave the house or go to bed.

10.) Lock the generator up when not in use.  During Hurricane Katrina, it was reported that FEMA “lost” hundreds of generators.  Generators are LOUD.  Everyone in the neighborhood knows that you have it, make sur

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The Big Chicago Storm and Power Outage: Day One
Power Outage Day Two and The Great Generator Search
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