Portable Generator Safety

Power Up Safely With These Portable Generator Tips

Men working on a generator

If the electric service is interrupted at your home or you need power in a remote location, a portable generator can provide temporary power when and where you need it.

But as convenient as they are, generators are not without their safety hazards: The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports that more than 80 deaths occur each year as a result of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning from generators. And generators also pose potential electrocution and fire safety hazards.

Before you reach for the generator, make sure you know how to operate it safely.

Carbon Monoxide


  • Keep generators on dry, level ground outdoors. If you must use a generator in damp or wet conditions, protect the unit with a canopy. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) also recommends using generators and extension cords with ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection in damp or wet conditions.
  • Check out extension cords that might be used to connect an appliance to the generator. Be sure cords are grounded, and do not use cords if they are cracked, frayed or visibly damaged. Ensure extension cords are appropriately rated in watts or amps for the intended use.
  • Never plug a generator into a wall outlet. Doing this creates an electrocution risk called 'backfeeding.'
  • Don't touch a generator with wet hands. Always dry your hands before touching the unit to avoid electric shock.

Fire Hazards

  • Let generators cool before storing or refueling. If fuel spills on the unit's hot engine parts, it could ignite.
  • Store generator fuel away from other fuels or combustible materials. Never store fuel in your home.
  • Keep fuel in a proper storage container with clear labeling. Store fuel on a high shelf or in a locked cabinet where children and pets can't get it.
  • Never smoke near a generator or the fuel.

Learn more about selecting and using portable generators from State Farm®.

Additional generator safety tips are available from:


State Farm®¬†(including State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its subsidiaries and affiliates) is not responsible for, and does not endorse or approve, either implicitly or explicitly, the content of any third party sites hyperlinked from this page. State Farm has no discretion to alter, update, or control the content on the hyperlinked, third party site. Access to third party sites is at the user's own risk, is being provided for informational purposes only and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any of the products which may be referenced on such third party sites.

The information in this article was obtained from various sources not associated with State Farm®. While we believe it to be reliable and accurate, we do not warrant the accuracy or reliability of the information. These suggestions are not a complete list of every loss control measure. The information is not intended to replace manuals or instructions provided by the manufacturer or the advice of a qualified professional. Nor is it intended to effect coverage under our policy. State Farm makes no guarantees of results from use of this information.