Power Generator Safety

December 15, 2003 -- Posted at 6:25 p.m. CST

JONESBORO--When winter weather hits, it can dump snow, sleet and ice...and the worst part is you might be without power. How can you be comfortable when the power is out and still be safe?

You might remember the winter storms that hit Region 8 last year...snow and ice caused many parts people to be without power, and for some it was days before the electricity came back on. M
any folks were able to get by last year with the help of generators....and this year, they're thinking ahead.

Jason Smith is a Department Supervisor for Home Depot and says the store has been busy with people shopping for generators.
"People are planning ahead this year because of last year. Having no power for a month or so is causing people to think, with the cold weather coming in, that I want to be comfortable, I don't want to go through what I did last year," said Smith.

Brian Duncan is a manager at Craighead Electric Cooperative Corporation and agrees that last year's winter storms were a lesson to be learned. He says that people should remember to be safe when using generators during emergency situations.

"Generators do come in handy in times of emergency. We recommend is that customers would contact an electrician and install the proper switches that go on a house that with one throw of a switch, you could be disconnected from the utility and connected only to the generator, that way the generator won't back feed back onto our power lines and endanger some of our employees."

Not endangering yourself is also something to keep in mind when using a generator.

"Make sure the generator is in a well ventilated area and make sure it's not connected to the utility company in any way," recommends Duncan.

With several different models to choose from, finding a generator isn't hard, but it's also not cheap.

Keeping comfortable while the power is out can cost you, but for some it's worth the price.

"A lot of people lost food in freezers, food in refrigerators and things and I know in parts of the viewing area, there were places out for sometimes a month," said Smith.

With winter weather nearly here, it's better to be safe than sorry. Finding a generator may not be hard, but they are more scarce during the winter months. Home Depot of Jonesboro says that they have been selling them as fast as they have been able to get them in.