Preparing for Dorian: How to safely use a generator to keep power running

HAMPTON ROADS, Va. — Hampton Roads is bracing for the damage Hurricane Dorian could bring to the area. Some residents say they are not waiting until the last minute to get prepared for the worst.

If you want to purchase a generator, you’ll want to do so soon. The Home Depot says they’ve been selling quickly. By Monday afternoon, many of their shelves were empty.

George Haworth is an electrical associate at The Home Depot. He says a generator with 60,000 watts will power a refrigerator and a microwave, and it will run all the lights in your home.

Haworth says the number one thing to remember with a generator is to use an extension cord that’s around 25 feet to keep it far away from your house because it emits carbon monoxide.

Gov. Northam issues state of emergency for Virginia ahead of Hurricane Dorian

"You don’t want it outside of any type of living space. The other thing you don’t want to do is, you do not want to put it near a garage whether the door's open or closed - it doesn’t matter."

He also urges people to not leave a generator directly outside of an apartment or on a deck.

"If something happens - if it does catch on fire - we’re now going to have a major fire versus a generator sitting out in your yard on fire."

Now is the time to stock up on gas because you’ll need it to keep your generator running.

Haworth says 10 gallons of gasoline will power the generator at half power for two days, but you’ll need to be careful when you fill the tank.

"You never fill up a generator when it’s running or hot because if you spill gas, it can go on and run onto your exhaust and it could catch fire."

Haworth says if you need to refuel, shut the generator off and wait 10 minutes for the engine to cool down.

He encourages anyone who has never operated a generator to ask sales associates plenty of questions before making the purchase.

Click here for more Dorian coverage.

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