ST. CROIX, U.S. Virgin Islands – When the power goes out, there can be serious impacts on daily activities. While a generator can ease these challenges, it can pose a danger if not used properly. Here are some safety tips:
Have your generator inspected yearly and replace any worn parts.
Use a qualified electrician to install the appropriate equipment in accordance with local electrical codes, or ask your utility company to install an appropriate power transfer switch.
Generators, camp stoves, or charcoal grills should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows so you and your family stay safe from carbon monoxide.
Do not use a generator indoors or in partially enclosed spaces- including homes, garages, and crawl spaces - even those areas with partial ventilation.
Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool down. Gasoline or other flammable liquids spilled on hot engine parts could ignite, and invisible vapors from the fuel can travel along the ground and be ignited by the generator's pilot light or by arcs from electric switches in the appliance.
Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Not everyone has a generator. Keeping the doors of your refrigerator and freezer closed will help the refrigerator remain at an acceptable temperature for approximately four hours. A full freezer’s contents should be fine for up to 48 hours. When in doubt, throw it out! Consult your physician regarding medications that require refrigeration.
Elderly people and infants and toddlers are more susceptible to the effects of extreme heat. Check on your neighbors and relocate to a cooler area, if possible.
Keep all electronics fully charged. Have extra batteries ready for flashlights and radios. Avoid using candles which can cause house fires.
Some businesses may continue operations but be unable to process credit cards. For this reason, try to keep enough cash in your emergency kit to get you through an extended lapse of power.