Using Backup Generators Safely

Businesses and industries that need to stay open during outages or that have critical systems that require electric power may choose to install a standby generator.

Photo of a backup generator.Permanently installed generators start automatically during a power outage and can continue running as long as they have fuel. These generators are usually powered by diesel fuel, natural gas or propane. The choice of fuel is dictated by a number of factors, including restrictions on the storage of diesel fuel in some areas and on the size of the generator needed.

Safety Concerns

Proper Installation
Standby generators must be installed by qualified electrical contractors and have a transfer switch to keep power from feeding back into Jackson EMC's lines, potentially endangering the crews working to restore power. In addition, a transfer switch keeps power from feeding back into the building when the power is restored, which could harm equipment.

Ventilation
Standby generators need good ventilation to run properly and keep from endangering employees with carbon monoxide emissions.

Protection from Water and Rain
Protect generators from rain and do not operate the generator if water has pooled around it, to avoid electrical shock.

Maintenance
Regular maintenance is crucial to ensuring that the generator starts when you need it. The generator should be started and loaded at least once a month, and the oil changed regularly.