Public Protection Cabinet

Press Release Date:  Monday, September 15, 2008  
Contact Information:  Andrew Melnykovych, 502-564-3940, ext. 208
Jim Carroll, 502-564-5525

     Sunday’s widespread wind damage left hundreds of thousands of Kentuckians in the dark. As customers await the restoration of their electricity, it’s a good time to review the dos and don’ts of home safety.


      The most common potential problem is downed power lines. The Public Service Commission offers these tips:

Ø      DO NOT APPROACH A DOWNED LINE.  You can’t see the difference between a live line that can kill you and a line without power. Report the downed line by contacting your local power company or by calling 911.

     Some residents will turn to a portable generator to supply electricity during an outage. A generator can be a great convenience, if used properly. But it’s important to get the right device for the job.


Ø      DO NOT OVERLOAD YOUR GENERATOR. Make sure your device is properly sized for the load you place on it. An appliance with an electric motor, such as a refrigerator, requires a lot of power to run.

Some residents may use a large generator hooked up to inside wiring to provide power in the home. This is NOT a do-it-yourself proposition.


Ø      DO NOT CONNECT A GENERATOR TO INSIDE WIRING WITHOUT A PROFESSIONALLY INSTALLED TRANSFER SWITCH. Such a switch prevents “backfeeding,” in which power flows back into the supply wires when the electrical is being restored. Backfeeding can severely shock or kill a utility worker.


    State Fire Marshal William Swope also reminds residents to properly ventilate a generator. Portable generators produce carbon monoxide, and should never be used indoors. CO is an odorless, colorless poisonous gas that kill in minutes. Make sure your home is equipped with an inexpensive CO detector and if the alarm goes off, get to fresh air immediately and call 911.


     Residents also find themselves looking for a light source during a power outage. Avoid using candles if possible because of the fire danger, Swope said. A better alternative is a flashlight. If you do use a candle, never leave it unattended.


    Additional information on the safe use of generators is available from the Consumer Product Safety Commission at