Portable generators and space heaters can provide your clients peace of mind when faced with a temporary loss of electric service. While these devices are both convenient and necessary, they introduce a number of important safety concerns that cannot be overlooked. The following precautions can ensure your clients’ safety:

Space Heaters:

·         While space heaters reduce energy use, they also could cause fires, carbon monoxide poisoning and even a trip and fall. Additionally, these heaters increase the risk of indoor pollutants and burn injuries. Therefore, space heater use should be limited and always well controlled.

  • Opt for heaters with tip-over and overheat protection, and make sure it won’t be placed where it could be knocked over.
  • Position a portable space heater at least three feet away from furniture, window treatments, clothing, rugs and other combustibles.
  • Plug a portable electric heater directly into an outlet with sufficient power capacity. Attaching an extension cord to the unit presents a trip and fall risk, and increases the chance of overheating, fires and electrical shock injuries.
  • Shut off and unplug the heater when leaving it unattended.


·         Inspect portable generators for damaged or loose fuel lines that may occur during transportation or handling.

  • Keep the generator dry to prevent electric shock or electrocution.
  • Maintain and operate portable generators in accordance with the manufacturer’s use and safety instructions.
  • Never attach a generator directly to the electrical system of a structure unless the generator has a properly installed transfer switch. Not taking this precaution creates a risk of electrocution for utility workers.
  • Always plug electrical appliances directly into the generator using the manufacturer’s instructions.

·         Turn the generator off and let it cool down before refueling.

  • Never use a generator or store generator fuel indoors.
  • Never place a generator outdoors near entrance doors, windows or vents.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in carbon monoxide alarms with battery back-up in the building, according to the manufacturer's installation instructions.
If your clients or employees show symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including dizziness, headaches, nausea or fatigue, get the person to fresh air immediately and seek medical attention.

Thank you for reading this installment in our Roseville Home Insurance and Roseville Business Insurance education series.