While people across the gulf coast are preparing for summer by planning for outdoor activities, it is important to remain mindful of the fact that the summer puts us at risk for hurricanes in South Louisiana.

Hurricane season begins in June and extends through November, and while nobody wants to think about a storm hitting their area, preparedness is the best defense we have against natural disasters.

One of the biggest issues that people face after a hurricane is power outages. Downed lines from the wind and flooding can cause thousands of homes to lose power for extended periods of time following a storm, so having a generator on standby is highly necessary.

Preparing Your Generator before a Hurricane

Whether you already own one or you are a new homeowner who is in the market, the first thing you want to do is figure out how much wattage you need from a generator. To do this, figure out what items or appliances you would like to have powered in the event of an outage. Items such as light circuits, air conditioning, refrigeration and other kitchen appliances should all be considered when determining your wattage. Add up the total wattage and use this as your minimum required wattage and remember that it is always a good idea to leave yourself with some wiggle room.

Some other preparations include purchasing heavy duty extension cords to plug into the generator, having ample fuel, and having a place in mind of where you would like to run your generator. Generators produce harmful carbon monoxide emissions, so you will need to find a spot that is well ventilated and not inside of your home.

Keeping the oil in your generator fresh is also a good idea to ensure that it will start reliably when you need it. Keeping up with maintenance on your generator is important to being fully prepared for hurricane season.

Operating Your Generator During a Power Outage

Make sure that your generator is operating in a space that is safe and convenient. Do not run your machine inside of your home or garage. Make sure that it is far from vents and windows to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that pets and children are kept away from the generator while it is operating.

For the safety of your generator itself, be mindful to not overload it by trying to power too many items. Do not plug it in to the outlet of your home. Instead, plug in your essentials first then with any remaining wattage plug in accessories like cellphone and laptop chargers. The exterior of your generator is going to become hot, even if it is just for a few minutes. Wearing protective gloves and clothing is a good practice whenever you need to service the machine in any way. Always allow your generator time to cool before refueling.

After Using Your Generator

Disconnect all items from the generator one at a time. This will help you avoid damage to your electronics. The next step would be to drain any remaining fuel into an approved container and store in a well-ventilated area for future use. Many owners store their unit in a garage or shed when it is not in use to keep it safe from the elements.

We all dread the idea of a hurricane coming into the gulf, but being ready is the best line of defense. If you are in the market for a new generator or have questions about your unit, Bozeman Distributors is well-equipped to keep you and your family prepared this hurricane season.