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Keep safety in mind when using generators

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Inter-County Energy reminds customers to use portable generators as safely as possible in the event of a power outage. A portable generator can make life a lot easier, but if it’s used improperly, it can be very dangerous.
Keep the following safety tips in mind when installing and using your generator.
• If connecting the generator into the house wiring is necessary, first contact Inter-County Energy for information on code compliance, then have a qualified electrician hook up the standby electrical system.
• Observe the generator manufacturer’s instructions for safe operations.
• Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
• Do not plug the generator into a wall outlet.
• Never use a generator indoors or in attached garages.  Only operate the generator outdoors in a well-ventilated dry area, away from air intakes to the home, and protected from direct exposure to rain and snow, preferably under a canopy, open shed, or carport.
• Never store gasoline in the home.
Gasoline, kerosene, and other flammable liquids should be stored outside of living areas in properly labeled, nonglass safety containers.
They should also not be stored in an area near a fuel-burning appliance:  the vapor from gasoline can travel invisibly along the ground and be ignited by pilot lights or arcs caused by activating electric switches.
• If your generator is connected directly to the house wiring, disconnect your house from the electric power system by turning off the main breaker or removing the main fuse.
This will protect the cooperative’s line workers from being shocked by power from your generator while doing repairs to the line.
Visit our web site at www.intercountyenergy.net for additional safety and emergency preparedness information or call Inter-County Energy with questions about installing your portable generator at (888) 266-7322.