Generators are working overtime around the state as we await restoration of our power, but it's important to make sure they're being used safely to avoid fire or CO poisoning.

It's kind of eerie walking through my Orrington neighborhood right now. Fallen trees and branches are everywhere. The streets are mostly deserted. And instead of hearing chirping birds, the air is filled with the whine of chainsaws and the hum of generators. Sounds like a pretty good setting for Halloween!

But scarier than ghosts and goblins are the dangers presented when those generators aren't installed and operated correctly. An improperly run generator could burn down your house or poison your family. So Central Maine Power has offered some tips on how to keep yourself warm and your family safe.

  • Always operate the generator outdoors in a clean, dry area. Never use it in the house or in the garage, even if the door is open. Carbon-monoxide poisoning can happen quickly, like when you're standing in the garage, putting gas in the generator.
  • Make sure the generator is properly grounded. And don't touch it if you're wet, standing in water or on damp ground.
  • After losing power, turn off the main breaker or pull the main fuse block.
  • Make sure the generator is installed correctly, using a double-pole, double-throw transfer switch to avoid back-feed that could seriously injure line workers.
  • Don't overload the generator with too many appliances and be sure to use extension cords that are in good working order. Keep a fully-charged fire extinguisher nearby, just in case you need it.
  • Wait until the generator has cooled before filling it with gas. And don't store gasoline or other fuels in your home or near the generator.
  • Don't smoke when operating the generator or handling fuel.