With the recent series of power outages called by severe thunderstorms, the Evanston Fire Department is offering some advice about the safe use of portable generators during a power failure.

Fire Division Chief Tom Janetske says there’ve been no recent reports of mishaps due to generator use in town, but they can create hazards.

Here’s the advice:

  • Use generators only in well ventilated areas — outside away from doors, windows and vents.
  • Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it’s running.
  • Never use a generator in an attached garage even if the door is open.
  • Make sure carbon monoxide alarms are in your home and working. Nationally, carbon monoxide deaths have risen in recent years as generator sales have increased.
  • When plugging in an appliance to a generator, use a heavy duty outdoor rated extension cord. The cords should be free from cuts, tears and have three prongs including a grounding pin.

Residents with questions about generator use can call the department’s Emergency Preparedness Division at 847-866-5918.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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