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Generators pose risk to lives if used improperly

Published: 5 Feb 2019 3:48pm

Ergon Energy is cautioning residents who may be affected by power supply interruptions due to flooding in North Queensland to ensure they use generators safely.

Area Manager Wayne Alderman said it was essential residents followed the manufacturer’s instructions when using a generator.

“Tragically, there was a fatality in North Queensland during a cyclone when a young man suffocated by inhaling fumes from his petrol-powered generator,” Mr Alderman said.

“Portable generators must only be run outside the house – never inside or in a garage – and well away from open windows, including your neighbours', so deadly exhaust does not enter the home.

“Better still, don't trust your senses to protect you from the carbon monoxide produced by running a generator because this deadly gas is invisible and odourless.

“Use a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm, which works like a smoke alarm and will sound an alert if carbon monoxide levels become dangerous.”

Mr Alderman added that generators must not be connected to fixed house wiring or Ergon Energy equipment because this could send electricity through the switchboard and into Ergon’s power lines.

“Unless your home or office wiring has been connected with a generator by a licensed electrical contractor or an authorised Ergon representative, they should only be used to run individual appliances,” he said.

“Improper use of portable generators can be dangerous and put yourself, your family, neighbours and Ergon staff involved in the restoration effort at risk.”

For further information about the safe use of generators, refer to the fact sheet on Ergon’s website at https://www.ergon.com.au/network/safety/home-safety/generator-safety-and-use

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