A portable generator is to blame for a recent fire that destroyed a Pollock Pines home during the Public Safety Power Shutoff. The gas generator was running in place of PG&E-supplied power.
While the exact cause of the generator fire isn’t known, El Dorado County Fire District Chief Lloyd Ogan says the power shutoffs are increasing some fire risks in his community and increasing his district’s calls for service.
“Now we have a new set of risks, we have a set of risks that are related to people using generators that aren’t properly installed, or properly being used, which creates a higher fire risk in those cases.”
There are simple things people should do when using generators, according to consumerreports.org:
Run Your Generator Outside
Since most generator-related injuries involve carbon monoxide poisoning, users should never operate generators indoors or in enclosed spaces, including garages or basements. High levels of carbon monoxide can kill a human within five minutes. Make sure the area where the generator is being used is well-ventilated. It should be at least 20 feet away from any residence, with the exhaust pointing away from windows or doors.
Keep Your Generator Dry
If it’s raining out, cover your generator. Generator tents can ben purchased online or at hardware stores. They keep your generator dry and offer ventilation.
Refuel Your Generator While It’s Off
Just like filling up a car, your generator should be off before you fill it up. Your generator should also be cool. Making sure it’s off and cold will help to ensure that spilled gasoline won’t ignite.
Keep Extra Gas In Storage-Safe Containers
If you’re going to use your generator for an extended period, make sure to buy extra gas and keep it in an ANSI-approved container in a cool, well-ventilated place. Don’t store it near hot sources, including fires, or inside of the house.