Firefighters remind residents of safe generator use ahead of hurricane season


NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – In 2021, the power outage caused by Hurricane Ida underscored the importance of alternative energy sources for area homeowners.

Firefighters say carbon monoxide poisoning is the number one hazard to avoid when using a generator.

For portable generators, the first step is to make sure they work the correct distance from your home.

New Orleans firefighter Edwin Holmes gave WGNO some tips on using generators.

“Ten meters is at least 30 feet from the house in a well-ventilated area, away from open doors and windows and another precaution is, the entrance closest to where the generator is, make sure sure there’s a carbon monoxide detector there,” Holmes said.

The fire department also suggests turning off a portable generator and allowing it to cool before refueling.

He added, “and never connect generators to your home’s electrical grid.”

Doing this will permanently damage your home’s electrical panel and create a fire hazard.

Many Southeast Louisiana homeowners have chosen to invest in whole-house natural gas generators.

And while these units are less labor intensive during a power outage, they can be expensive and need regular maintenance.

Toby Stevens of Keefe’s AC Heating and Electrical said: ‘It’s essential, if you don’t maintain them they will break and you will be sitting in sweltering heat. Very uncomfortable.”

Keefe’s is one of many local suppliers who offer service contracts on everything from tune-ups to oil changes, but given that we all lost power for up to 9 days last year, Owners of these units should have the supplies needed for maintenance on hand before a storm hits.

We saw with Ida, I don’t think I received delivery for 2 weeks before I had anything on my doorstep and that was even over the top. It’s definitely better, especially since it’s your power source in the garden. It’s the best thing to have,” Stevens said.

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