Caution urged with generator use; Lehigh FD reports multiple fires
Structural fires caused by generator use kept Lehigh Acres Fire Control and Rescue District busy Friday and Saturday as they responded to three structure fires related to generators and improper electrical activity.
"Please use caution when charging large battery packs or utilizing your generators. Do not take safety shortcuts - it's not worth it," A Facebook post by the department urged.
The department said the improper setup or use of a generator can lead to fires, electrocutions, or carbon monoxide poisoning.
The department also urged homeowners to remove hurricane shutters.
"We are experiencing an increase in structure fires and carbon monoxide-related calls. In both of these types of incidents, firefighters need immediate access to your home. If you haven’t done so, remove your hurricane shutters. This ensures you are able to evacuate your home, and ensures firefighters can quickly get in if there’s an emergency," a department alert stressed..
The department shared tips and recommendations for safe generator use:
- Use portable generators outdoors in well-ventilated areas at least 20 feet from all doors, windows, and vent openings. Measure the 20-foot distance from the generator to the building.
- Never use a generator in an attached garage, even with the door open.
- Place generators so that exhaust fumes can’t enter the home through windows, doors, or other openings in the building. The exhaust should be directed away from the building.
- Make sure you have working carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in your home.
- Turn off generators and let them cool down before refueling. Never refuel a generator while it is hot.
- Store fuel for the generator in a container that is intended for the purpose and is correctly labeled as such. Store the containers outside of living areas.
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