portable generators

GENERATORS POSE FIRE AND SAFETY HAZARDS DURING OUTAGES: OSHA PROVIDES SAFETY TIPS

By Miriam Raftery

Photo via Fire District 1, Edmonds, Wash.  Home destroyed by a portable generator fire

December 6, 2020 (San Diego)—Generators have sparked several wildfires in California, ironically during power outages planned by utility companies to prevent fires. While generators are vital for many homeowners to operate electric well pumps, lights, refrigerators, computers, medical equipment and other necessities during prolonged outages, generators can pose hazards if not not used or maintained properly. Explosions, electric shocks, electrocution, hearing loss from noise, vibration hazards, and carbon monoxide poisoning from exhaust are all potential risks from generators.

Last year, three fires caused by generators during power shut-offs by  PG&E were reported in Nevada County, CA, Wildfire Today reported.  This week, the Bond Fire that has scored over 7,300 acres in Orange County may have been triggered by a faulty domestic generator, according to Reuters. Neighbors have said that a generator exploded when a homeowner without power tried to start up the generator, though fire authorities have not yet confirmed the wildfire’s cause.

The Occupational Safety and Health Agency (OSHA) have published guidelines on how to use portable generators safely. Below are highlights from the OSHA advice:

AMERICAN HONDA RECALLS PORTABLE GENERATORS DUE TO FIRE AND BURN HAZARDS

December 4, 2012 (Washington D.C.) – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, in cooperation with American Honda Motor Co. of Torrance, announces a voluntary recall of about 150,600 portable generators because fuel hoses can leak, posing fire and burn hazards. The products were sold at numerous retail outlets nationwide and online.

Consumers should stop using recalled products immediately unless otherwise instructed. It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

PORTABLE GENERATORS SOLD AT COSTCO RECALLED DUE TO FIRE DANGER

November 2, 2012 (Washington D.C.) – Portable generators made by Champion Power Equipment have been recalled by the company due to a fire hazard, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced today. The generators were sold exclusively at Costco Stores nationwide from December 2011 to July 2012 for about $699.

Fuel can leak from the generator’s carburetor, posing a fire hazard. There have been 11 reports of fuel leaking, including eight reports of generators catching fire and two of property damage.