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Generator safety tips

Never run your generator in a garage, carport, crawl space, shed or porch. Place outdoors but under cover to prevent electrocution if unit gets wet. Be sure the generator isn’t positioned outside an open window, which can allow fumes into the home.

Use a carbon-monoxide alarm that’s battery-operated or has battery backup.

Never feed power from a portable generator into a wall outlet. This can kill linemen working to restore power or your neighbors who are served by the same transformer.
It also can damage your generator.

Don’t use power cords that are frayed, torn or cut. This can cause a fire or shock. Be sure all three prongs are intact and the cord is outdoor-rated. The cord’s wattage or amps must not be smaller than the sum of the connected appliance loads.

Store fuel and generator in a ventilated area and away from natural-gas water heaters. Vapors can escape from closed cans and tanks, travel to the pilot light and ignite.

Never have wet hands when operating a generator. Never let water come in contact with the generator.

Make sure you have the right cords and connectors.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission says you should not use an auxiliary tank.

Most starters use rope pulls. If yours uses a battery, keep it charged.

Always turn the engine off before refueling and let the generator cool.

Don’t spill fuel. It can ignite.

Even in the off-season, your portable generator can become just that, at the hands of a thief. Permanently bolt it down or at least secure it with a strong chain and lock.

More information: Consumer Product Safety Commission

Need more power? Many homeowners opt for large standby generators

Large, permanent generators — also known as automatic standby generators — are more powerful and quieter then their portable counterparts. And newer models are better and less intrusive than older versions.

Most are powered by propane or natural gas stored in large underground tanks or are fed by service lines. That means no shuttling to service stations to fill gasoline cans.

They’re directly wired into the home’s circuit panel. When power goes out, just fire it up and flip a switch.

Some units have a “brain” that detects outages, automatically starts the generator, and switches circuits in seconds. When power resumes, the system flips back to the house circuit and powers down the generator.

Standby generators can range in power up to 45,000 watts — enough to power an entire large home.

Determining if you need a standby generator

List the appliances you’ll want operating in an outage and total the required wattage.

Most units range in price from $10,000-$30,000. You’ll also have to pay for a concrete slab, installation and wiring.

You’ll be subject to the laborious, and costly, permitting process used for new driveways, fences, shutters and roofs. You’ll also need to meet the rules of your local homeowners association.

You’ll need to be familiar with the manufacturer’s guidelines for placement and operation. Some homes will not have room outside to place generators and still have the required space for proper ventilation and to meet fire codes and zoning.

Finding a reputable company

Consumer groups and even the police in the past have dealt with complaints that generator sales and installation outfits took money and either delivered the generators but never installed them, or never delivered them at all.

Some companies poured just the concrete slab. Some delivered units but never pulled permits.

Make sure the company shows its license. Check for complaints. Get referrals.

Sources: Palm Beach Post archives, bobvila.com, Consumer Product Safety Commission, Florida Power & Light Co.

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The Latest News Headlines

  • A lawyer for a wealthy Tennessee businessman who was later found not guilty in a Memphis rape trial made a comment during closing arguments Thursday that raised some eyebrows. According to WHBQ, Steve Farese, attorney for Mark Giannini, said women are 'especially good' at lying. 'People can be very good at lying,' Farese said. 'Women can be especially good at it because they're the weaker sex.' >> Watch the video here Memphis Area Women's Council Executive Director Deborah Clubb told USA Today that she was 'stunned' by the comments. 'It's despicable,' she said. 'It's absolutely despicable.' Farese told USA Today that his job 'is not to care if anybody gets offended' and 'smart people will see it for what it is.' According to WHBQ, the jury on Friday found Giannini not guilty on all charges in case. A woman had claimed that he raped her in 2014 when she visited his Eads mansion for what she thought was a job interview. >> Read more trending news As the verdict was read, the woman had an emotional breakdown in the courtroom. Giannini and Farese embraced one another. The woman who accused him of rape has filed a $6 million lawsuit against Giannini. If he had been found guilty, he would have faced up to 15 years in prison without the possibility of parole. 
  • Luanne Haygood, the mother of a 10-year-old boy with autism, is angry that her son was arrested earlier this month at his Florida school for allegedly punching and kicking his teacher six months ago. Okeechobee County school resource officers put the child in handcuffs at Okeechobee Achievement Academy, but Haygood said the school district isn’t properly equipped to deal with autistic children. “He has autism. He doesn’t know what’s going on,” she can be heard saying in the video that she recorded of her son’s arrest. “He’s scared to death. He’s 10 years old.” >> Watch Haygood's video here (WARNING: Viewer discretion advised) Haygood watched as her son was removed from his classroom for allegedly leaving a paraprofessional with scratches and other marks back in October. He was arrested on an outstanding warrant on allegations of felony battery on a school board authority. “I was extremely angry. That I felt like this was a power play. I felt like this was a this is what you get. You can’t do anything about it. We’re going to arrest your son if he can’t abide by the rules,” Haygood told WFOR, adding that her son's disability is the reason behind his behavior. “To go and have him arrested on school grounds in front of other students, in front of personnel, during school hours – they could’ve come to my house at any time to tell me what was going on.” >> Read more trending news The boy reportedly spent one night in juvenile detention, according to the Washington Post. The child was then released on house arrest and is expected to appear in court next month. Haygood said the incident would never have happened if the school had the proper services to address his disability. “I want something done,' she told WFOR. 'I want other kids to not have to go through this.” According to CNN, the school district released the following statement: 'It has been district procedure to invite students in to take the Florida Standards Assessment. The district would not invite someone to one of our campuses for the sole purpose to arrest. 'The district routinely assists students by providing services from our board certified behavioral analyst, licensed mental health counselors, school social workers, and psychologists. As a team, these individuals develop interventions, conduct assessments, and offer support both at school and in the home in order to assist students and families. 'The district is unable to provide specific information as to both current and past incidents regarding this or any other student due to educational laws and rules. It is our hope that we can continue to work with all families to help their students improve both behaviorally and academically.' – The Cox Media Group National Content Desk contributed to this report.
  • An 8-year-old boy died after a television fell on him at a home in Jacksonville, Florida, his parents said. >> Read more trending news Jacksonville police officers were called to Painted Pony Drive early Friday morning and found Christian Dozier unresponsive in his bedroom. He was taken to the hospital, where he died from his head injuries. His parents told ActionNewsJax that he was kicking an entertainment center when the TV fell on him. His mom said he loved to hang out with his siblings and play sports. 'It's horrible … especially when you know your grandchild plays with them -- so it's horrible,' neighbor Regina Williams said. 'It's horrible anytime something (happens) to a kid so when I (saw) the crime scene tape, that's the last thing I thought, is that it'd be one of the children.
  • President Donald Trump on Friday promised a “big announcement” next week on his plans for major tax reform, but soon after, top administration officials were tempering expectations, indicating that the White House would be releasing broad goals of a tax plan, not the details in full legislative text. “We’ll be having a big announcement on Wednesday having to do with tax reform,” Mr. Trump said as he signed several executive orders dealing with financial matters at the Treasury Department. “The process has begun long ago, but it really formally begins on Wednesday,” the President added, with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin – his chief tax reform architect – standing beside him. #URGENT: President Trump says he will have a 'big announcement' on tax reform Wednesday — Carol Costello (@CarolCNN) April 21, 2017 Mr. Trump has talked for months about acting on tax reform, but after three months in office, the President has not sent any formal plan to the Congress, where many GOP lawmakers are waiting to see some details. Reports on Friday night seemed to indicate that the announcement next week will be on the broad brush side – not the nitty gritty details of major tax changes. In an hour long interview with the Associated Press, the President also hyped his own tax reform announcement for next week, saying the tax cuts he will propose would be “massive.” BREAKING: Trump tells @AP he will unveil tax plan next week that includes 'massive' tax cut for individuals and businesses. — AP Politics (@AP_Politics) April 21, 2017 “Bigger, I believe than any tax cut ever,” Mr. Trump said. But his goal to get it out next week – just days before the 100 day mark of his presidency – evidently wasn’t what top aides had been envisioning. “Trump Vows to Unveil Tax-Cut Plan Next Week, Surprising Staff,” was the headline in the New York Times.
  • The death toll has risen to “as many as 140” Afghan soldiers in the wake of Friday’s attack on a military base by Taliban members apparently disguised in military uniforms, officials said. >> Read more trending news One official in the northern city of Mazar-i-Sharif, where the attack occurred, said Saturday at least 140 soldiers were killed and many others were wounded, Reuters reported. Other officials said the toll could even be higher. A U.S. official in Washington on Friday had put the toll at more than 50 killed and wounded, Reuters reported. As many as 10 Taliban fighters, dressed in Afghan army uniforms and driving military vehicles, slipped onto the base and opened fire on mostly unarmed soldiers eating a meal and leaving a mosque after Friday prayers, officials told Reuters. The base is the headquarters for the Afghan National Army's 209th Corps, responsible for much of northern Afghanistan, including Kunduz province where there has been heavy fighting. Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid said in a statement on Saturday the attack was retribution for the recent killing of several senior Taliban leaders in northern Afghanistan. 'The attack on the 209th Corps today shows the barbaric nature of the Taliban,' U.S. Gen. John Nicholson, the commander of coalition forces, said in a statement on Friday.

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