This time of year we are preparing for the winter ahead.  We've all prepared for the Nor'Easters that come up here and one of the key pieces of equipment to keep our sanity during a power outage is a generator.

I never had a generator growing up and remember melting snow on the gas stovetop during the storm of '98 to keep warm.  We only lasted a couple of days until we started hopping on couches and into hotel rooms while 2 weeks passed until we got our power back.

Now that I have a generator, I value the convenience and basic necessity it beholds in a time of uncertainty and disruption when you lose your power, especially during a winter storm.

But just because I have one doesn't mean I'm out of the woods.  Educate yourself to safely survive an outage.

Let's take a look at some tips that Consumer Reports has about how to maintain and use your generator as a sort of refresher before winter comes rearing it's ugly face.

Properly using a generator is essentially to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning.

Facts:

  • Carbon monoxide is odorless
  • Carbon monoxide is invisible
  • Carbon monoxide can kill within 5 minutes of improper generator usage
  • 66 people die a year from improper generator usage - DON'T BE ONE OF THEM!

Tips

  • DO NOT run your generator indoors or in an enclosed space.
  • Run the generator 20 feet from your house.
  • DO NOT run your generator so it is exposed in the rain.
  • TURN OFF your generator before refueling.  Let it cool down before you put more gasoline in it.  Remember, heat + gasoline= fire and burning flesh.

For more tips on properly using your generator, visit Consumer Reports.  Survive the storms to come and keep your family and home safe.