Many people are using portable generators in the absence of electrical power into their homes and businesses in the aftermath of Sandy . There is a potential hazard associated with the forecasted Nor’easter scheduled to arrive in our area Wednesday night. Since this is forecast to be a heavy rain event, water is likely to pool in areas where it has not done so up to this point. If generators are allowed to run during heavy rain, a very real electrical shock and fire hazard may exist from extension cords attached to the generator or from the generator itself. Portable generators should be properly protected or turned off during heavy rain. If they are protected and left running, any lines connected to them should be off the ground and out of any area where water is likely to collect. The best bet is to turn them off and wait out the storm.
In addition, Carbon Monoxide poisoning has already taken at least five lives in NJ since Sandy impacted the State. Any combustion of carbon based products, including fuels used in portable generators, must be done outside in well ventilated areas to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning. A bulletin from PMA is attached which can be used in your communications and as a reference. As always, your GSMJIF risk control staff is available to assist as well.
Let’s all be safe!