The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) offers the following cautions on the use of gas-powered generators and other tools:
Shock and Electrocution
- Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of structure (home, office, trailer, etc.) unless a qualified electrician has properly installed the generator with a transfer switch.
- Always plug electrical appliances directly into the generator using the manufacturer's supplied cords or extension cords that are grounded (3-pronged). Inspect the cord to make sure they are fully intact and not damaged. Never use frayed or damaged extension cords.
- Keep a generator dry; do not use it in the rain or in wet conditions. If needed, protect a generator with a canopy.
Don’t mess around with power lines—even if they’re down
Downed power lines can look relatively harmless, but don’t be fooled. They likely carry an electric current strong enough to cause serious injury or possibly death. These tips can help you stay safe around downed lines:
Shock and Electrocution
- If you see a downed power line, move away from the line and anything touching it.
- The proper way to move away from the line is to shuffle with small steps, keeping your feet together and on the ground at all times. This will minimize the potential for a strong electric shock. Electricity wants to move from a high voltage zone to a low voltage one—and it could do that through your body.
- If you see someone who is in direct or indirect contact with the downed line, do not touch the person. You could become the next victim. Call 911 instead.
- Do not attempt to move a downed power line or anything in contact with the line by using another object such as a broom or stick. Even normally non-conductive materials like wood or cloth, if slightly wet, can conduct electricity and electrocute you.
Be Ready Before Disaster Strikes
If disaster strikes your community, you might not have access to food, water, or electricity for some time. By taking time now to prepare emergency kits, you can provide for your entire family.
Even though it is unlikely that an emergency would cut off your food supplies for two weeks, consider maintaining a stockpile that will last that long. In fact, you can use the canned goods, dry mixes, and other staples on your cupboard shelves. Protein bars and breakfast bars are also good to have on hand.
But an ample supply of clean water remains a top priority. A normally active person needs to drink at least 2 quarts (a half gallon) of water each day. You also need water for food preparation and hygiene. Count on at least an additional half-gallon per person, per day.
Store at least a three-day supply and consider storing a two-week supply of water for each member of your family. If you are unable to handle this much, store as much as you can. You can reduce the amount of water your body needs by reducing activity and staying cool. Don't forget to take your pets’ water needs into account, too!
Thunder and lightning rolling your way?
Weather summer storms safely with these helpful tips.
All thunderstorms produce lightning and all have the potential for danger. Those dangers can include tornadoes, strong winds, hail, wildfires, and flash flooding, which is responsible for more fatalities than any other thunderstorm-related hazard.
In the United States, lightning kills 300 people and injures 80 on average, each year. And lightning's risk to individuals and property increases because of its unpredictability―it often strikes outside of heavy rainfall , up to 10 miles away.
Ready America, a national public service campaign from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), champions the 30/30 Lightning Safety Rule. Go indoors if, after seeing lightning, you cannot count to 30 before hearing thunder. Stay indoors for 30 minutes after hearing the last clap of thunder.