Generators can make life comfortable if used properly

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY, Ind. – Clay township residents have been without power since Monday night. Many of the residents have turned to generators to keep food cold and make life a little more comfortable, but you have to be careful when using a generator. Using it incorrectly could be deadly.

For people living on Camellia Drive north of Cleveland Road with well water and septic systems, it has been a long week without electricity.

"Without electricity, we can't flush our toilets or run water at all,” said Christine Jacobs.

Many of them have turned to generators to power up, while crews work to restore electricity.

Gentry Phillips, with Indiana Michigan Power says that's fine if it's done right.

"If you use good common sense, you can get up and going with little trouble,” said Phillips.

Chris Infalt borrowed a small generator from her father to keep her food cold and to allow her to work from home.

"With the generator, we were able to have the computer and internet,” said Infalt.

But she has no water. For that she would need a bigger generator, like the one Jacobs has.

Jacobs wasn’t comfortable hooking up the generator so she got help.

"I had to get an electrician out to hook up my generator to my power box,” said Jacobs.

Phillips says she did the right thing because electricians have the right equipment for that kind of job.

"You never want to direct wire into your wiring system; it also can cause a back-feed into our system. Those are the type of things that can harm utility workers,” said Phillips.

Power in this neighborhood will be back on soon, something homeowners are looking forward to.

"We'll be very grateful to be able to take showers and do dishes and laundry and all the other things,” said Infalt.

Indiana Michigan Power has some other tips when using a generator:

Always set it up in a dry open space, outdoors and away from air intakes: That will prevent the exhaust from getting into the house and causing carbon monoxide poisoning.

Never plug the generator directly into a wall outlet: That can cause backfeed that could injure utility workers miles away or damage transformers making the power outage last longer.

Don't overload the generator: Make sure the generator you are using is able to put out more power than you need. Just count the total watts needed and compare the sum total to the amount the generator puts out.

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