Winter Storm Preparation: Generator Safety Tips


Cal OES urges Californians to be prepared before, during, and after a storm. Generators can be a vital resource during a power outage. There are several steps to keep in mind when using a generator to keep your family safe.

Keep your family and pets safe Safety tips for generators Safety Tips for Generators Do not use generators indoors or in confined, poorly ventilated areas. Keep them outside, away from buildings and anything flammable, even dry brush. Fumes from a generator can be dangerous for you, your family or pets. Check with neighbors and family to ensure they are aware of the risks of operating generators. If you are using a generator for any reason, this information can help keep you and your household safe: Place generators at least 20 feet away from your home, downwind away from open doors, windows and vents. Before refueling it, turn off the generator and let it cool for 15-20 minutes. Never try to power the house wiring by plugging the generator into a wall outlet; instead, use a heavy-duty, outdoor extension cord to plug appliances into generators. Do not use generators in rain or wet conditions. Place a fire extinguisher nearby. Make sure your home has operating fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Learn about carbon monoxide from the CDC at or call 800-232-4636 Cal OES GOVERNOR'S OFFICE OF EMERGENCY SERVICES

Generator safety:

  • Generators and fuel should always be used outdoors and at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and attached garages.
  • Install working carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill you, your family and pets.
  • Keep the generator dry and protected from rain or flooding. Touching a wet generator or devices connected to one can cause electrical shock.
  • Always connect the generator to appliances with heavy-duty extension cords.
  • Let the generator cool before refueling. Fuel spilled on hot engine parts can ignite.
  • Follow manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Keep generators away from buildings and anything flammable, including dry brush.

RESOURCES Generator Safety

Carbon Monoxide Awareness