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Safety tips for operating portable generators

In a variety of situations, portable generators can supply temporary or remote electric power. From emergencies to recreational and construction activities, portable generators become a welcome addition to any instance when power is needed, yet not readily available.

For outdoor events such as tailgating, hunting and camping, an inverter generator is a quiet, reliable option. These temporary power sources can be used to power televisions, radios, small appliances, fans and space heaters. Before using one of these helpful devices at your next event, there are a few things to remember in order to keep friends and family safe.

"Portable generators are helpful in various situations, but the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by their improper use are very real," said Joe Harding, representative for Portable Generator Manufacturers' Association (PGMA). "The educational efforts of PGMA, including the Safety First campaign, are focused on educating the public on the proper selection and safe usage of portable generators."

Essential safety tips
Generator exhaust contains high levels of carbon monoxide, a deadly gas that is tasteless, colorless and odorless. For any situation which requires temporary power to be available, consider the following preparation and safety tips:

  • Do not run portable generators inside homes, garages, basements, crawlspaces, sheds or other partially-enclosed spaces, even if using fans or opening doors and windows. Carbon monoxide can quickly build up in these spaces and linger for hours, even after the generator has shut off.
  • Only operate a portable generator outside, far away from windows, doors and vents to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide gas accumulating and potentially being drawn toward occupied spaces.
  • Install battery-operated carbon monoxide alarms or plug-in alarms with battery backup according to the manufacturer's instructions. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide gas.
  • Always place your portable generator downwind and point the engine exhaust away from occupied spaces.
  • The symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illness such as cold, flu or food poisoning. If you suspect you or a family member are experiencing any of these symptoms due to carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911 for emergency medical attention.
  • Always refer to the generator owner's manual for further information about safe operation and potential hazards.

Regardless of the events requiring the use of portable generators, safety precautions should be considered in order to reduce risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. For more information, visit pgmaonline.com.

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Black Diamond crapemyrtle Leave a reply

Black Diamond in the rough: New crapemyrtles in big demand

Plant varieties with black foliage are hot right now, but they are far and few between. The newest arrival on the market is the BLACK DIAMONDTM series of crapemyrtles. This is a revolutionary new series of plants with spectacular black foliage and five brilliant flower colors to choose from. The stunning black foliage emerges in early spring and lasts until leaves drop at the first hard frost. Planted in full sun, plants hold their stunning dark foliage color over the entire growing season and bloom late-spring through late-fall.

The BLACK DIAMONDTM Crapemyrtles were bred by a USDA research scientist and feature five vivid color selections including ‘Best Red’, ‘Crimson Red’, ‘Red Hot’, ‘Blush’, and ‘Pure White’. We know how different “reds” can be and finding just the right one can be a challenge. This series offers up three different red tones to choose from to coordinate with your landscape. ‘Blush’ offers up soft pale pink blooms against the dark foliage. ‘Pure White’ gives you a stunning contrast perfect for a sophisticated garden. The BLACK DIAMONDTM Crapemyrtle has a long bloom season that begins in late-spring or early summer through the first frost. You can encourage more blooms by deadheading old flowers.

A versatile shrub, BLACK DIAMONDTM makes a show stopping specimen, anchor plant or blooming row hedge; it can also be grown in containers as a patio or pool plant. Reaching only 10- to 12-feet tall and 8-feet wide at maturity, these semi-dwarfs are perfect for urban landscapes, small spaces and containers. Plants can be hand-pruned or sheared to the ground to maintain a 4- to 6-foot blooming row hedge.

Crapemyrtles are sun loving, heat and drought tolerant once established. A must-have for your water-wise garden! In field trials, BLACK DIAMONDTM plants showed an improved tolerance to both powdery mildew and leaf spot; fungal diseases that can be a problem for most crapemyrtles.

"Crapemyrtles are just about everyone's favorite summer flower shrub and small tree. The extraordinary beautiful black foliage and the striking flower colors of the Black Diamond Crapemyrtles take them to other levels of beauty and enjoyment when in your landscape." Jim Berry, owner, J Berry Nursery.

BLACK DIAMONDTM Crapemyrtles can be grown differently across the country, depending on USDA Hardiness zone:

Zones 2-5: Annual. Use as annual blooming summer color. Use as a patio planter and bring inside for the winter.

Zone 6: Perennial. Use as flowering hedge that will re-grow from the ground in spring. Use as a summer patio planter.

Zone 7-9: Deciduous Shrub/Small Tree. Use as a border for driveway, fence, or property screen. Blooming hedge and patio planter for summer color.

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