With hurricane Sandy on track to approach the Northeast for early next week, residents are wanting to be sure to have hurricane preparedness under their belts before then.
One thing that is flying off the shelves is generators for home use, as they did during Tropical Storm Irene and the violent storm that swept through on June 30th, 2012. That storm in June 2012 left nearly 3 million people without power in states like Virginia, Maryland, New Jersey, Washington DC, West Virginia and Ohio for many days.
Many people are bracing themselves for Frankenstorm, the hybrid storm, by having generators for their home. A generator will allow them to keep on their refrigerators, stoves, and their houses warm if they do lose power. Forecasters are predicting hurricane Sandy to mix with a wintry storm Tuesday morning as it makes landfall in New Jersey or New York City.
Chris Calkins, owner of Calkins Electric LLC in East Lyme, said Thursday that he had five calls for generator jobs in the previous 24 hours. “Once people hear about a storm heading toward the Bahamas, I start getting phone calls,” Calkins said. “I can predict the weather by the number of calls. I don’t even have to watch The Weather Channel.”
Norwich Public Utilities had a briefing with city emergency officials by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration indicating the region would start feeling the impact of Hurricane Sandy sometime around Sunday. It’s too early to determine Hurricane Sandy’s track or for that matter, the damage it will cause.
A generator for home use will run you around $115.00 for a gas powered 1000 Watt 2-cycle portable generator, all the way up to $4,497.00 for a 20,000 Watt Air-Cooled Liquid Propane/Natural Gas Powered Standby Generator.
With a generator does come safety concerns. First off, you’ll want to service your backup generator, if you already own one. One thing to take note of and shop manager Deondre Holly of Butler Power Equipment in West Hartford reminds us, “Don’t leave the gas in longer than 30 days, ethanol is a huge problem.”
Also, with a hybrid storm such as Frankenstorm, many people become new owners of generators. Firefighter Chief Richard Winn says, “Make sure the generators are outdoors and away from windows and other avenues where the fumes can get in.” He adds, “When you are refilling your generator stop it and let it cool down before you start pouring gas in it because with the gas vapor and hot motor it could ignite.”
The U. S. Fire Administration (USFA) provides the following tips to prevent the loss of life and property resulting from improper use of portable generators.
To avoid carbon monoxide hazards:
- Always use generators outdoors, away from doors, windows and vents.
- Never use generators in homes, garages, basements, crawl spaces, or other enclosed or partially enclosed areas, even with ventilation.
- Follow manufacturer’s instructions.
- Install battery-operated or plugin (with battery backup) carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home, following manufacturer’s instructions.
- Test CO alarms often and replace batteries when needed.
To avoid electrical hazards:
- Keep the generator dry. Operate on a dry surface under an open, canopy-like structure.
- Dry your hands before touching the generator.
- Plug appliances directly into generator or use a heavy-duty outdoor-rated extension cord.
- Make sure entire extension cord is free of cuts or tears and the plug has all 3 prongs, especially a grounding pin.
- NEVER plug the generator into a wall outlet. This practice, known as backfeeding, can cause an electrocution risk to utility workers and others served by the same utility transformer.
- If necessary to connect generator to house wiring to power appliances, have a qualified electrician install appropriate equipment. Or, your utility company may be able to install an appropriate transfer switch.
To avoid fire hazards:
- Before refueling the generator, turn it off and let it cool. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts could ignite.
- Always store fuel outside of living areas in properly labeled, nonglass containers.
- Store fuel away from any fuelburning appliance.
Generators for Home Use Flying Off Shelves
Generators are selling out fast as the hybrid storm, Frankenstorm approaches the Northeast.
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