Pay My Bill Get Fiber Residential Services Business Services Outage and Safety Center Conservation Rebates Start/Stop Services Update Your Account Information Community Services and Discounts Street Lighting Rates and Policies Contact Us Related Pages Outage and Safety Center Safety Related Documents Generator Fact Sheet Home / My PUD Services / Outage and Safety Center / Safety / Outage Safety / Outage Safety Be Prepared for a Power Outage Keep flashlights, candles, matches, battery-operated radios, extra batteries and canned and dried foods handy. Have an emergency kit packed and ready. Keep your cell phone charged and/or have one corded phone. Most cordless phones won’t work without power. Know how to manually open your garage door if you have an automatic opener. Know how your home’s wastewater system operates during a power outage. Stay Safe During a Power Outage To heat indoor spaces (and help keep pipes from freezing), use only Underwriters Laboratories-approved heaters that are designed for indoor use. Even those need to be adequately vented to avoid carbon-monoxide poisoning. Keep space heaters away from curtains and clothing. Always turn off space heaters before going to bed or leaving home. Never burn charcoal indoors. Charcoal produces toxic fumes that can kill quickly Be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Read more about the safe use of combustion appliances. Always exercise extreme caution if you use candles or oil lamps. Never leave them unattended and keep them away from furniture, drapes, and other flammable materials. Considering a Generator? Expand all Select the right generator for your needs Portable generators are not intended to power your entire home. Identify the things you absolutely can’t live without during an outage, like a freezer, well pump or medical equipment. Calculate how much electricity those items need by checking the nameplate or owner’s manual. Keep in mind that generators should not run continuously at more than 80% of rated capacity. The safest way to have emergency power is through a permanently installed stationary generator. If you are unsure which option is right for you, consult with a licensed electrician. Protect Yourself and Workers Plug appliances directly into the generator. DO NOT plug the generator into an electrical outlet in your home or through the electrical panel. If you do, electricity can backfeed through your meter and into powerlines, causing a severe hazard to the crews working to restore your power. If you need to run a hardwired appliance, consider installing a stationary generator and a transfer switch, which disconnects the home’s wiring system from the PUD’s system. You must work with the PUD and obtain an electrical permit and approval through Washington State L&I prior to installing a transfer switch. Operate Outdoors Exhaust from generators contains high concentrations of carbon monoxide, a poison that cannot be seen or smelled and can kill you in minutes. Never place your generator inside the house, in a garage or carport, or any fully or partially enclosed area where fumes could build up. Instead, find a location that is as far from home as possible (at least 20 feet) and point the exhaust away from any nearby doors or windows. Run Your Generator Safely Make sure your generator is property grounded. Only use heavy-duty extension cords that are rated for both outdoor-use and the right amperage required for your appliances. Keep your generator dry. Never run your generator in rainy or wet conditions. If necessary, protect it under a tarp or canopy, ensure proper air flow. Turn your generator off and let it cool before refueling. Any spills on a hot engine may ignite. Inspect and maintain your generator regularly. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced when any fuel is burned. Do not use fuel-burning devices, like gasoline-powered generators, gasoline-powered pressure washers, camp stoves and lanterns, or charcoal grills in homes, garages, or any other confined spaces such as attics or crawl spaces, or within 20 feet of windows, doors or other air intakes. Using these items in your home can produce carbon monoxide, which can be deadly. Have vents and chimneys checked to ensure that debris does not block or impede the exhaust from water heaters and gas furnaces. If you start to feel sick, dizzy or weak while using a fuel-burning appliance, get to fresh air right away. Go to the emergency room and tell a physician you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. Get more information about avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning.