Trinity Valley EC News
Use Generators Safely
Our lineworkers’ lives are on the line

IMAGE: DonNichols | iStock.com

No season in Texas is safe from severe weather. And when one of those destructive storms rolls through our area, lines can go down and members can lose power—sometimes for an extended period.

During an outage, some folks rely on portable generators while power is being restored. If you use a generator, do you know enough about it to operate it safely?

The safety of our members and our employees is a top priority at Trinity Valley Electric Cooperative, especially during dangerous times. When storms hit our area, we rush to restore power as soon as conditions allow.

Our line crews take necessary precautions before they work on downed power lines, taking care to ensure that a line is de-energized before working on it. But even after these measures, an improperly connected generator can put our workers’ lives at risk.

TVEC is proud of our outstanding safety record, but sometimes, no matter how many steps we take to keep everyone safe, the very people we are there to help unknowingly put our lives—and their own—in danger.

Portable generators can prove fatal to lineworkers when used improperly. A generator connected to a home’s wiring or plugged into a regular household outlet can cause backfeeding along power lines and electrocute anyone who comes into contact with them—even if the lines seem dead.

TVEC employees are not the only ones in danger when a portable generator is used improperly. Those who operate generators improperly risk being electrocuted, starting fires, damaging property or being poisoned by carbon monoxide. Portable generators can be very helpful during outages. But it is imperative that you follow these safety guidelines when using one:

 

  • Never connect a generator directly to your home’s wiring unless your home has been wired for generator use, which includes having a transfer switch installed by a qualified electrical contractor. The transfer switch can be used to disconnect your home from the power grid. Connecting the generator to a house’s wiring without such a switch can cause current to flow out of your home’s circuitry and along power lines, putting at risk anyone who comes into contact with the lines.
  • Always plug appliances directly into generators or use heavy-duty, outdoor-rated extension cords. Make sure extension cords are free of cuts or tears and the plug has three prongs. Overloaded cords can cause fires or equipment damage.
  • Ensure your generator is properly grounded.
  • Never overload a generator. A portable generator should only be used when necessary to power essential equipment or appliances.
  • Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting it down.
  • Only operate a generator on a dry, covered surface outdoors, away from windows and doors.
  • Always have a fully charged fire extinguisher nearby.
  • Never fuel a generator while it is operating.
  • Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation. Never cut corners when it comes to safety.

 

We encourage you to protect the well-being and safety of your family during outages and safeguard those who come to your aid during emergency situations. When we work together for safety and the good of our communities, we all benefit.

TAGS: Trinity Valley EC, Safety

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