Other Generator Hazards

Generator use:

  • Is also a major cause of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning
  • Should only be used in well ventilated areas
Effects of Backfeed
  • The problem of backfeed in electrical energy is:
    • A potential risk for electrical energy workers
  • Electrocutions are the fifth leading cause of all reported occupational deaths

Following the safety guidelines below can reduce this risk.

Electrical Safety and Generators

Preventing Electrocutions Associated with Portable Generators Plugged Into Household Circuits.

When power lines are down, residents can use another power source such as a portable generator to restore energy to:

  • Their homes
  • Other structures

If water has been present anywhere near electrical circuits and electrical equipment. Turn off the:

  • Power at the main breaker
  • Fuse on the service panel

Do not turn the power back on until electrical equipment has been inspected by a qualified electrician.

If it is necessary to use a portable generator, the following must be strictly followed:

  • Manufacturer recommendations
  • Specifications

If there are any questions regarding the operation or installation of the portable generator, a qualified electrician should be immediately contacted to assist in:

  • Installation
  • Start-up activities

The generator should always be positioned outside the structure.

Gasoline & Diesel Powered Portable Generators

When using gasoline- and diesel-powered portable generators to supply power to a building, switch the main breaker or fuse on the service panel to the "off" position prior to starting the generator.


  • Prevents power lines from being inadvertently energized
  • Helps protect from possible electrocution, including:
    • Utility line workers
    • Other repair workers
    • People in neighboring buildings

If the generator is plugged into a household circuit without turning the main breaker to the “off” position or removing the main fuse, the electrical current could:

  • Reverse, go back through the circuit to the outside power grid
  • Energize power lines or electrical systems:
    • In other buildings to at or near their original voltage
    • Without the knowledge of utility or other workers
Power Line Hazards and Cars
  • If a power line falls on a car you should stay inside the vehicle (This is the safest place to stay)
  • Warn people not to touch the car or the line
  • Call or ask someone to call:
    • The local cooperative
    • Emergency services

The only circumstance in which you should consider leaving a car that is in contact with a downed power line is if the vehicle catches on fire:

  1. Open the door (Do not step out of the car. You may receive a shock)
  2. Jump free of the car so that your body clears the vehicle before touching the ground
  3. Once you clear the car, shuffle at least 50 feet away with both feet on the ground

As in all power line related emergencies, call for help immediately by:

  • Dialing 911
  • Calling your electric utility company's Service Center/Dispatch Office

Do not try to help someone else from the car while you are standing on the ground.

Keep a Safe Distance

Whether you are playing outdoors with your children or working on landscaping projects, keep a safe distance from:

  • Power lines
  • Other equipment your co-op uses to get electricity to your home

Always remember:

  • To stay away from:
    • Power lines
    • Meters
    • Transformers
    • Electrical boxes
  • Don’t climb trees near power lines
  • Never fly:
    • Kites
    • Remote control airplanes
    • Balloons near power lines
  • If you get something stuck in a power line:
    • Call your Touchstone Energy co-op to get it
  • Keep a safe distance from overhead power lines when:
    • Working with ladders
    • Installing objects such as antennas
  • When there is a downed power line:
    • Keep children and pets away
    • Never touch anything that may be touching a downed wire, such as a car
    • Never touch or go near a downed power line
Power Line Safety

Accidentally contacting a power line can be:

  • Dangerous
  • Sometimes deadly

Joe Wheeler EMC wants to help our members stay safe around power lines.

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