Portable, Standby Generators Play Powerful Roll in National Preparedness Month

MILWAUKEE (Sept. 3, 2013) — In the past year, homeowners across the U.S. have experienced several  weather disasters including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Issac, winter storm Draco, and the devastating tornado that rocked Moore, Okla. The recent rash of strong storms make September’s National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Ready campaign, especially noteworthy as homeowners begin thinking about storm preparedness.

Even without a major storm event, an average of 3.5 million Americans experience a power outage each week, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Homeowners that have experienced a power outage, or live in an area that experiences frequent power outages, should consider investing in backup power.

What is backup power?

Generators help ensure that families get through blackouts caused by unexpected situations safely and comfortably by providing backup power during a electricity outage. Two types of generators are available to homeowners and understanding their differences and capabilities makes selecting the best generator for your needs much easier.

Portable generators: The immediate backup power supply

Portable generators work well as an immediate solution and can power a few critical items and appliances such as a refrigerator, TV and basic lights. When the power goes out, homeowners must set up the unit by properly positioning it outside and far away from living spaces, doors and windows prior to connecting it to critical items.

“Portable generators provide backup power during utility outages while keeping families comfortable,” said Eric Loferski, director of marketing for Briggs & Stratton. “It is important to note that they can be very dangerous if not operated properly. Because portable generators are powered by small engines that emit potentially harmful carbon monoxide gas, it is critical for both experienced and new operators alike to understand the hazards.”

The unit should be refueled with fresh gas every six to eight hours. If a portable gas generator is not going to be used within 30 days of refueling, the gas should be treated with a fuel stabilizer to help ensure that the unit performs when needed.

It’s also important to note that usually stores quickly run out of portable generators in storm situations, so purchasing a portable generator before a storm arrives is the only way to be fully prepared. 

Standby generators: The long-term backup power supply

Home standby generators are the ideal solution for homeowners wanting a backup power source that offers an uninterrupted power supply and eliminates the scramble to find a temporary solution.

Because the standby generator and its automatic transfer switch are connected to a home’s existing natural gas or propane line, they automatically turn on within seconds after detecting a electrical power outage—whether or not the homeowner is present—and provide a seamless transition and supply of power. When grid power is restored, the home standby generator automatically  turns off. With a standby generator, homeowners can rest assured that their food won’t spoil, air conditioning or heat will continue running and the sump pump won’t turn off.

“Homeowners with a standby generator installed will be the first to admit the unit provides a peace of mind that can’t be replicated without one,” said Amanda Grandy, marketing manager for Briggs & Stratton Standby Power. “However, unlike portable generators, standby generators need to be professionally installed. Homeowners need to allow for a few weeks of installation time and, therefore, need to prepare before a storm is already forecasted for their area.”

Additionally, standby generator installation is more difficult when the ground is frozen, so it’s important to plan in advance of the winter months.

Generator Safety

To avoid injury, it's important that homeowners follow key generator safety measures. Portable and standby generators emit dangerous carbon monoxide fumes, so they should only be used outdoors and away from open windows or doors to avoid fumes entering the home. To guarantee that the generator continues providing power when needed, homeowners should read and follow the generator maintenance and manufacturer’s operating instructions. Homeowners should also install and maintain a carbon monoxide detector in their home. To learn more, visit www.briggsandstratton.com/safetyfirst.

About Briggs & Stratton Corporation

Briggs & Stratton Corporation (NYSE: BGG), headquartered in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is the world’s largest producer of gasoline engines for outdoor power equipment. Its wholly owned subsidiaries include North America’s number one marketer of portable generators and pressure washers, and it is a leading designer, manufacturer and marketer of lawn and garden and turf care through its Simplicity®, Snapper®, Ferris®, Murray®, Branco® and Victa®brands. Briggs & Stratton products are designed, manufactured, marketed and serviced in over 100 countries on six continents.


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