The safety of our members and our employees is a top priority at Victory Electric, especially during dangerous times. When storms hit our area, we rush to your aid as soon as weather conditions allow our lineworkers to travel and make repairs safely.
Our line crews take necessary precautions before they work on downed power lines. First, they verify a circuit has been de-energized, and that proper switches are opened and tagged to isolate the circuit from the system. We place ground chains on the circuit—on both sides of workers—to make sure the line cannot be energized while work’s being done. But even after these measures, our workers’ lives remain in your hands.
Victory Electric is proud of our safety record, but sometimes, no matter how many steps we take to keep everyone safe, the very people we are there to help unknowingly put our lives—and their own—in danger.
Generators, widely used when power lines are down, can prove fatal to lineworkers and your neighbors when used improperly. A generator connected to a home’s wiring or plugged into a regular household outlet can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone who comes in contact with them—even if the line seems dead.
Victory Electric employees are not the only ones in danger when a portable generator is used improperly. Generator owners themselves may be at risk of electrocution, fire injury, property damage, or carbon monoxide poisoning if they do not follow the necessary safety rules.
Generators can be very helpful to consumers during outages. We urge you to follow these safety guidelines when using one:
- Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Be sure you understand the generator before hooking it up. Never cut corners when it comes to safety.
- Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use. This can cause back feeding along power lines and electrocute anyone coming in contact with them, including lineworkers making repairs. Have a licensed electrician install the equipment necessary to safely connect emergency generators to your home. Properly connecting the generator into the system is a critical step for safe and effective use. A licensed professional should install a permanent, standby electric generator and can help with proper equipment for safely using a portable generator. Have a qualified electrician install a transfer switch. The transfer switch breaks the path of electricity between the power lines and your main electrical panel. This is the best way to protect you, your neighbors and repair crews from ‘back feed.’ It is your responsibility to take necessary steps to prevent the injury of anyone near lines, especially crews working to restore power.
- Always plug appliances directly into generators. Connecting the generator to your home’s circuits or wiring must be done by a qualified, licensed electrician who will install a transfer switch to prevent back feeding.
- Use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
- Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
- Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
- Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
- Keep the generator dry. Operate it on a dry surface under an open structure.
- Never fuel a generator while it is operating. Turn off generator and allow cooling before refueling. Gasoline and its vapors may ignite if they come in contact with hot components or an electrical spark. Store fuel in a properly designed container in a secure location away from the generator or other fuel-burning appliances, such as water heaters. Always have a fully charged, approved fire extinguisher located nearby.
- Maintain adequate ventilation. Generators emit carbon monoxide. It is against fire code to operate a generator in your home, garage, or other enclosed building. Place it in a dry, outside location.
- A qualified vendor or electrical professional can help you select the best equipment for your situation or needs. A reliable vendor will know existing safety codes and your utility’s safety requirements. Installed and operated correctly, use of a standby or portable electric generator poses little danger, but improper installation or use could be dangerous to you and threaten the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and electric utility crews trying to restore power.
- Remember maintenance between uses. It’s important to drain the gasoline from the generator while it is being stored. It’s also a good idea to inspect the fuel and oil filters, spark plug, oil level and fuel quality and start the generator on a regular basis before an emergency situation happens.
We encourage you to protect the well-being and safety of your family during outages, and safeguard those who come to your aid during emergency situations. When we work together for safety and the good of our communities, we all benefit.