Safety tips for generator use during blackouts

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.

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