Portable Generator Safety 
Generator Safety
If you plan to install a permanent back-up generator you must call Ameren Missouri for our electrical requirements. These tips are merely supplemental and are not a substitute for reading the owner's manual.

If you plan on using an emergency generator, it’s essential that you take precautions for your safety and the safety of those working to restore power. The most effective way to avoid portable generator mishaps is to make sure you fully understand the proper operating procedure for your generators. Understanding the manufacturer’s guidelines before operating helps keep you, your family, your neighbors, and your utility workers safe.

Owner's Manual - instructions
  • Carefully read and follow the owner’s manual by the manufacturer for proper operation

Connecting to your system
  • Proper installation of a generator is critical
  • Improper use may not only damage your equipment or electrical system, but also potentially result in injury or death to those using the generator and to utility workers
  • Keep children away from generators at all times
  • Allow at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator when operating
  • If you are connecting a generator into your home electrical system, have a qualified electrician install a Power Transfer Switch
  • The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator
  • Connecting a portable electric generator directly to your household wiring can be deadly to you and others
  • Operate the generator only on level surfaces
  • Only start or stop the generator when no electrical loads are connected

Extension Cords
  • If extension cords are required, be sure they are a grounded type of plug with the third prong
  • Be sure the extension cords are rated for the application
  • Always uncoil cords and lay them out flat in an open area to keep them from getting hot
  • Don't run cords under rugs where heat might build up or cord damage may go unnoticed
  • Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy-duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
  • Make sure the cords from the generator don't present a tripping hazard
  • Do not use extension cords with exposed wires or worn shielding

Size of Generator
  • Ensure the total electric load on your generator will not exceed the manufacturer's rating
  • For more information on selecting a portable generator visit Consumer Reports
  • Prioritize your needs because a portable electric generator should be used only when necessary and only to power essential equipment
  • Do not overload the generator with more electricity demand than what the generator can produce
  • Overloading your generator can seriously damage your valuable appliances and electronics

Area of operation – Carbon Monoxide
  • Exhaust fumes from the generator contain carbon monoxide, a deadly poison gas you cannot see or smell
  • It is recommended you install battery operated carbon monoxide alarms/detectors indoors according to manufacturer's instructions/recommendations
  • Never use a portable generator indoors – exhaust from the generator indoors
  • Keep children away from portable generators at all times
  • Operate in a dry area away from doors, windows, crawl spaces, basement windows, vents, or enclosed areas
  • Allow at least five feet of clearance on all sides of the generator when operating
  • Operate the generator only on level surfaces and where it will not be exposed to excessive moisture, dirt, and dust or corrosive vapors
  • Generators can be used during a wide variety of weather temperatures, but should be protected from the elements when not in use to prevent shorting and rusting
  • Generators produce powerful voltage - Never operate under wet conditions. Take precautions to protect your generator from exposure to rain and snow. A canopy can be placed over the generator to protect it from the elements.
  • Inspect the generator regularly and contact the nearest authorized dealer for parts needing repair or replacement
  • Always disconnect the spark plug wire and place the wire where it cannot contact the spark plug to prevent accidental starting when setting up, transporting, adjusting or making repairs to the generator
  • Never operate the generator near combustible materials
  • When using a portable generator, the user must ensure both the generator and the items plugged into the generator are properly grounded in order to prevent electrical shock hazards or electrocution. Consult your manufacturer's owner’s manual for correct grounding procedures
    Re-fueling - Gasoline, Fueling and Burn Safety
  • Do not attempt to refuel your generator while it is running. Allow the generator to cool after turning off to avoid coming into contact with a hot generator.
  • Allow the generator to cool down before adding fuel. Gasoline and its vapors are extremely flammable
  • If tank is over-filled, fuel can overflow onto a hot engine and cause fire or explosion
  • Do not smoke near fuel or generator
  • Always use fresh gasoline and if you do not plan to use your generator in 30 days, don’t forget to stabilize the gas with fuel stabilizer
  • Never store a generator with fuel in the tank where gasoline vapors might reach an open flame
  • Many generator parts are hot enough to burn you during operation

Document C0 Generator Connection Request Form
portable generator safety
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