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Ivan survivors know that a portable generator is worth its weight in gold, especially if power outages continue for weeks. Generators can run appliances and fans. Size ranges from 750 watts (which will run a fan and a light), up to 8,000 watts (which will practically run a house, not including an air conditioner). Refrigerators require 400-1,000 watts.

But while generators are helpful, using them can be hazardous and even life-threatening. Most deaths and injuries associated with portable generators are from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning but other risks include electric shock and burns.

Care for your generator

It is critical to the life of your generator that you ensure that, while removing the gasoline before storing, you maintain a clean supply of oil in the generator to ensure it will work when you next need it.

Last Updated: 2010-08-15