Late autumn, winter, and early spring are times when the threat of inclement weather and other unexpected interruptions cause extended power outages. Many have considered purchasing or borrowing a generator. For the safety of you and your family, we encourage you to read the following tips on generator safety and operation. Follow instructions . Carefully read and follow all manufacturer’s instructions, suggestions and safety precautions. Generator ConnectionsInstallation InstructionsCarbon Monoxide PoisoningFacts About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Generator ConnectionsWhen using a generator to power your home or business please follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Never use a generator inside. Generators should be installed by a qualified electrician. Improperly installed generators can cause back feeding, which can endanger the lives of line workers and emergency personnel because the line may become energized at any time without their knowledge. All installations must meet the National Electrical Code. More information is available at http://www.nfpa.org/. Installation InstructionsBecause there are many models available on the market, Emera Maine does not provide generator installation instructions online. We recommend reading all installation instructions from your generator's manufacturer before attempting to install your generator. If your instructions are missing, try to find your manufacturer on the web, or call your local retailer. Carbon Monoxide PoisoningNever operate a gasoline generator in an attached enclosed space such as your basement bulkhead, garage, or porch. Doing so can cause deadly levels of carbon monoxide to build up in your home. Generators should only be used outside at least 20 feet from your home. Anyone operating a generator should also have working carbon monoxide detectors powered by batteries. Be sure to check that the monitor has been approved by Underwriters Laboratory. Facts About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas present in the exhaust fumes of an operating gas-powered generator. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless, making it undetectable. Breathing low levels of carbon monoxide can cause fatigue and increase chest pain in people with chronic heart disease. Breathing high levels of carbon monoxide causes flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness and weakness. It may also cause sleepiness, nausea, fatigue, vomiting and disorientation. Breathing extremely high levels of carbon monoxide can cause loss of consciousness or even death. If you experience any of these symptoms and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, you should immediately leave the area and seek fresh air. Contact your local fire department so they can test for carbon monoxide. You should also seek medical advice.