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Hurricane survival guide: Generator safety and maintenance

Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images
Photo by Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Many Floridians bought generators during or after previous hurricane seasons -- but if the generator has been sitting ever since, there are some important steps you need to follow to be sure you won’t end up with a useless piece of equipment when a storm hits.

It is important to follow the manufacturer’s instructions that came with your generator about how to connect, use and maintain your generator, including how to ground it.

For a permanent or hard-wired generator, you must have a qualified licensed electrician connect the generator to your home’s wiring, and you need to have the wiring inspected by the local building department.

With portable generators, it is extremely important that they are operated outside homes and garages. They should be far enough away from living spaces that fumes will not be able to get into open doors or windows.

After every hurricane in recent years, several of the storm-related deaths have been due to carbon monoxide poisoning from improper use of portable generators. Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home to keep your family safe.

If your portable generator was in storage, follow this check list: