Backup Power for the Individual and Volunteer, Part I:  Generators

Backup Power for the Individual and Volunteer, Part I: Generators

As a loss of power from the grid is a regular occurrence during a disaster, being ready for this eventuality is a necessity. Also, being equipped with backup generators is a standard practice with Emergency Operation Centers (EOC).  Power from the grid may be lost due to an equipment failure, severe weather, natural disaster, deliberate act of disruption (e.g., arson, terrorist attack, hacking, etc.) or from an electromagnetic pulse (EMP).  Such an outage may last a few hours to a few weeks, depending on the size and scope of the disaster. The decision on how to access power when the grid is not an option will vary greatly upon the individual or organization’s location, budget, ability to provide service and maintenance, and other considerations.  However, electrical generators are widely available, cost effective, and may be utilized with limited training.  The following guide is an introduction to electrical generators that are powered via fossil fuels. Portable Generators A portable generator is normally a small, wheeled generator that may be moved from one location to another fairly easily.  Most portable generators are powered by gasoline, but other fuel options are available, such as diesel, propane and kerosene.  Diesel generators tend to be more expensive, but more durable than gasoline models.  Most portable generators produce between 3,000 to 8,500 watts. They can be purchased at most home supply stores and establishments that sell power equipment.  Some also have a Tri-Fuel kit that will allow the generator to run on multiple fuel types with little difficulty. Pros: For powering a limited amount of items (such as lighting, space heating, communication equipment, etc.) a portable generator is adequate. By design, the...
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