Portable electric generators offer great benefits when outages affect your home. Below are guidelines for safely connecting and operating portable generators. Additional information is available about selecting and purchasing generators.
Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring.
A generator that is directly connected to your home’s wiring can “backfeed” onto the power lines connected to your home.
The only safe way to connect a portable electric generator to your existing wiring is to have a licensed electrical contractor install a transfer switch. The transfer switch transfers power from the utility power lines to the power coming from your generator.
Never plus a portable electric generator into a regular household outlet.
Connect individual appliances directly to the receptacle outlet of the generator.
Don’t overload the generator.
Do not operate more appliances and equipment than the output rating of the generator.
Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage.
Just like your automobile, a portable generator uses an internal combustion engine that emits deadly carbon monoxide. Be sure to place the generator where exhaust fumes will not enter the house.
Use the proper power cords.
Plug individual appliances into the generator using heavy duty, outdoor-rated cords with a wire gauge adequate for the appliance load.
To prevent electrical shock, make sure your generator is properly grounded.
Consult your manufacturer’s manual for correct grounding procedures.
Turn off all equipment powered by the generator before shutting down your generator.
Due to the following regulations, please enjoy the many professional, supervised fireworks displays.
The possession and use of all fireworks by private citizens is illegal in Massachusetts.
This includes sparklers, party poppers, snappers, firecrackers and cherry bombs, to name a few.
It is illegal to purchase fireworks in another state and transport them into Massachusetts.
Do not purchase fireworks through mail-order catalogues. Government cannot prohibit distribution of the catalogues, but police do confiscate illegal shipments of fireworks. Many consumers attempting to circumvent the law have lost both their money and their fireworks.
Keep all LP-gas (Liquid Propane) containers outside, five feet away from building openings such as doors, windows, dryer vents and air intake vents and all ignition sources. All LP-gas cylinders with a capacity between 4-40 lbs, must be equipped with an overfill protection device.
Fire officials recommend LP-gas canisters be ten feet away from the house, if possible, especially when in use.
LP-gas grills are not permitted inside or on balconies or decks above the first floor of any building where people live.
(Never store propane tanks in your garage.)
LP-gas is heavier than air and sinks. A leaky grill could pose a hazard to people below. Possible ignition sources include smoking materials, air conditioners, compressors, pilot lights and cars.
Make sure all connections are tight and secure.
Use only charcoal lighter fluid to start charcoal grills.
Once the coals have been lighted, never add more lighter fluid to the fire - flames may travel up the stream of lighter fluid resulting in serous burns.
Biological Pollutants in Your Home
Outdoor air pollution in cities is a major health problem. Much effort and money continues to be spent cleaning up pollution in the outdoor air. But air pollution can be a problem where you least expect it, in the place you may have thought was safest -- your home. Many ordinary activities such as cooking, heating, cooling, cleaning, and redecorating can cause the release and spread of indoor pollutants at home. Studies have shown that the air in our homes can be even more polluted than outdoor air.
Many Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors, often at home. Therefore, breathing clean indoor air can have an important impact on health. People who are inside a great deal may be at greater risk of developing health problems, or having problems made worse by indoor air pollutants. These people include infants, young children the elderly and those with chronic illnesses.
Biological pollutants are or were living organisms. They promote poor indoor air quality and may be a major cause of days lost from work or school, and of doctor and hospital visits. Some can even damage surfaces inside and outside your house. Biological pollutants can travel through the air and are often invisible.
Some common indoor biological pollutants are: Animal Dander (minute scales from hair, feathers, or skin), Dust Mite and Cockroach parts, Infectious agents (bacteria or viruses), Pollen.
Some of these substances are in every home. It is impossible to get rid of them all. Even a spotless home may permit the growth of biological pollutants. Two conditions are essential to support biological growth nutrients and moisture. These conditions can be found in many locations, such as bathrooms, damp or flooded basements, wet appliances (such as humidifiers or air conditioners), and even some carpets and furniture.
Modern materials and construction techniques may reduce the amount of outside air brought into buildings which may result in high moisture levels inside. Using humidifiers, un-vented heaters, and air conditioners in our homes has increased the chances of moisture forming on interior surfaces. This encourages the growth of certain biological pollutants.
Health Effects Of Biological Pollutants
All of us are exposed to biological pollutants. However, the effects on our health depend upon the type and amount of biological pollution and the individual person. Some people do not experience health reactions from certain biological pollutants, while others may experience one or more of the following reactions: Allergic, Infectious, Toxic.
Except for the spread of infections indoors, ALLERGIC REACTIONS may be the most common health problem with indoor air quality in homes. They are often connected with animal dander (mostly from cats and dogs), with house dust mites (microscopic animals living in household dust), and with pollen. Allergic reactions can range from mildly uncomfortable to life threatening, as in a severe asthma attack. Some common signs and symptoms are: Watery eyes, Runny nose and sneezing, Nasal congestion, Itching, Coughing, Wheezing and difficulty breathing, Headache, Fatigue.
Health experts are especially concerned about people with asthma. These people have very sensitive airways that can react to various irritants, making breathing difficult. The number of people who have asthma has greatly increased in recent years. The number of people with asthma has gone up by 59 percent since 1970, to a total of 9.6 million people. Asthma in children under 15 years of age has increased 41 percent in the same period, to a total of 2.6 million children. The number of deaths from asthma is up by 68 percent since 1979, to a total of almost 4,400 deaths per year.
Talking to Your Doctor
Are you concerned about the effects on your health that may be related to biological pollutants in your home? Before you discuss your concerns with your doctor, you should know the answers to the following questions. This information can help the doctor determine whether your health problems may be related to biological pollution.
anyone in the family have frequent headaches, fevers, itchy watery eyes, a
stuffy nose, dry throat, or a cough?
complain of feeling tired or dizzy all the time?
Is anyone wheezing or
having difficulties breathing on a regular basis?
Did these symptoms
appear after you moved to a new or different home?
Do the symptoms
disappear when you go to school or the office or go away on a trip, and return
when you come back?
Have you recently
remodeled your home or done any energy conservation work, such as installing
insulation, storm windows, or weather stripping? Did your symptoms occur
during or after these activities?
Does your home feel
humid? Can you see moisture on the windows or on other surfaces, such as walls
What is the usual
temperature in your home? Is it very hot or cold?
Is the air stale?
Do you have pets?
Do your houseplants show
signs of mold?
Do you have air
conditioners or humidifiers that have not been properly cleaned?
Does your home have cockroaches or rodents?
caused by bacteria and viruses, such as flu, measles, chicken pox, and
tuberculosis, may be spread indoors. Most infectious diseases pass from person
to person through physical contact. Crowded conditions with poor air circulation
can promote this spread. Some bacteria and viruses thrive in buildings and
circulate through indoor ventilation systems. For example, the bacterium causing
Legionnaire's disease, a serious and sometimes lethal infections, and Pontiac
Fever, a flu-like illness, have circulated in some large buildings.
Coping With the Problem
Checking Your Home
There is no simple and cheap way to sample the air in your home to determine the level of all biological pollutants. Experts suggest that sampling for biological pollutants is not a useful problem-solving tool. Even if you had your home tested, it is almost impossible to know which biological pollutant(s) cause various symptoms or health problems. The amount of most biological substances required to cause disease is unknown and varies from one person to the next.
Does this make the problem sound hopeless? On the contrary, you can take several simple, practical actions to help remove sources of biological pollutants, to help get rid of pollutants, and to prevent their return.
Self-Inspection: A Walk Through Your Home
Begin by touring your
household. Follow your nose, and use your eyes. Two major factors help create
conditions for biological pollutants to grow nutrients and constant moisture
with poor air circulation. Dust and construction materials, such as wood,
wallboard, and insulation, contain nutrients that allow biological pollutants to
grow. Firewood also is a source of moisture, fungi, and bugs. Appliances
such as humidifiers, kerosene and gas heaters, and gas stoves add moisture to
the air. A musty odor, moisture on hard surfaces, or even water stains,
may be caused by: Air-conditioning units, Basements, attics, and crawlspaces,
Bathrooms, Carpets, Heating and air-conditioning ducts, Humidifiers and
dehumidifiers, Refrigerator drip pans.
What You Can Do About Biological Pollutants
Before you give away the family pet or move, there are less drastic steps that can be taken to reduce potential problems. Properly cleaning and maintaining your home can help reduce the problem and may avoid interrupting your normal routine. People who have health problems such as asthma, or are allergic, may need to do this and more. Discuss this with your doctor.
Water in your home can come from many sources. Water can enter your home by leaking or by seeping through basement floors. Showers or even cooking can add moisture to the air in your home. The amount of moisture that the air in your home can hold depends on the temperature of the air. As the temperature goes down, the air is able to hold less moisture. This is why, in cold weather, moisture condenses on cold surfaces (for example, drops of water form on the inside of a window). This moisture can encourage biological pollutants to grow.
Carefully read instructions for use and any cautionary labeling on cleaning products before beginning cleaning procedures.
Do not mix any chemical products. Especially, never mix cleaners containing bleach with any product (such as ammonia), which does not have instructions for such mixing. When chemicals are combined, a dangerous gas can sometimes be formed.
Household chemicals may cause burning or irritation to skin and eyes.
Household chemicals may be harmful if swallowed, or inhaled.
Avoid contact with skin, eyes, mucous membranes and clothing.
Avoid breathing vapor. Open all windows and doors and use an exhaust fan that sends the air outside.
Keep household chemicals out of reach of children.
Rinse treated surface areas well to remove all traces of chemicals.