LANSING, MICH. (WLNS) — We caught up with the Lansing Fire Assistant Chief about what you need to know to stay safe if you do lose power and you’re using a generator.
Many people are probably out shopping for generators just in case they lose power, but the fire department wants you to know a few things so they don’t have to make a trip out to your house.
Lansing Fire Assistant Chief Mike Tobin said, “Generators are a phenomenal thing for preparedness for a house, ” when you use them correctly.
“They should be, if you’re going to wiring them in your house, be done by a professional, by an electrician to make sure everything is safe if it goes through a transferred switch box,” Tobin said.
If you don’t have it transferred through a switch box Tobin said, “Be very limited about the extension cord you’re using. Use good high quality heavy gauge like a 12 gauge extension cord.”
Tobin said to use your generator for your critical appliances, like your refrigerator and for basic lighting.
“Don’t be bypassing and doing weird and unusual electrical wiring in your house off the generator,” Tobin said. “It’s not safe for the generator. It’s not safe for your house.”
And this is not safe for you. He said to make sure your generator is stored outside at least 10 feet away from any opening of your house with good airflow.
“Historically in the city of Lansing, during some of our longer power outages for various events, we’ve actually had fatalities in the city because they brought a generator into an attached garage and let it run.” said Tobin. “We’ve even had people bring them into basements and let it run.”
When your generator runs out of fuel make sure it has time to cool down before you refill it.
Tobin said, “If gasoline splashes on a hot motor it can explode.”
“All in all, we’re gonna weather this event just fine and as a community the fire department is gonna make it through it we’re gonna be here if anyone needs us.”
Just as a reminder, Tobin encourages people to stay off the roads if possible.
If you do lose power, make sure you have emergency water if you run on a well, and battery powered lighting, charge your cell phone and check to see if your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly.