Storm damage and power outages reported from Ohio to New York
Storms can damage roofs and lead to costly repairs.
Another northeast storm has left thousands without power, find guidance below to help with using generators. The storm is responsible for two deaths and extensive property damage caused by high winds and downed trees.
The storm system swept from Ohio into upstate New York on Thursday. News reports state that high winds knocked over scaffolding and downed trees, killing two people in separate incidents in New York and Pennsylvania. A state of emergency is in effect for parts of New York State that experienced the most severe damage. Residents are dealing with hot weather, but are being asked to stay inside to allow emergency workers to clear the streets of tree-related debris and repair downed power lines and poles. Roof damage was reported to be the most immediate property loss issue after the storm, which also sparked small fires. Find guidance for repairing damaged roofs.
Residents using generators during the outages are encouraged to do so safely. Here is guidance from Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety for safe generator use:
- Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from engine exhaust is a common and serious danger that can result in death if generators are used improperly, in particular, if the fuel is not burned completely.
- Because CO is invisible and odorless, business and/or building owners should install a CO detector to warn of rising CO levels, and test it monthly.
- Never use generators indoors or outside near windows, vents, or air intakes that could allow CO to come indoors.
- Maintain plenty of air flow space around the generator.
- When using an emergency electric power generator, get fresh air immediately if you begin to feel flu like symptoms, sick, dizzy or light headed.
- Carefully follow all instructions on properly “grounding” the generator.
- Keep the generator dry. If needed, operate portable generators under an open canopy type structure. Short circuits may occur in wet conditions resulting in the generator catching fire.
- Store fuel in an approved storage container or holding tank designed for such use, and only use fuel that is recommended in the owner’s manual. Never store fuel indoors.
- Do not keep fuel near the electric generator while the electric generator is in use, as it could start a fire.
- Never refuel while the generator is running, and always keep a fully charged fire extinguisher located nearby.
- Keep cords out of the way to avoid injury, but in plain view to allow for visual inspections of any damage, such as fraying or cuts, that could result in a fire.
AVOID BACK FEEDING
- Do not “back feed” power into your electrical system by plugging the generator into a wall outlet. Back feeding will put you and potentially others, including utility line workers, at serious risk because the utility transformer can increase the low voltage from the generator to thousands of volts. Some states have laws that make the generator owner responsible for taking steps to make sure that the generator’s electricity cannot feed back into the power lines, and for notifying the local utility of the location of any commercial, industrial, or residential generator.
- The exterior portions of a generator, even those operated for only a short period of time, can become hot. Avoid touching the generator without protective gear and keep debris clear to avoid a fire.
© 2012 Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety