The Outdoor Power Equipment Institute (OPEI) today issued reminders on generator safety in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and resulting power outages.

Portable generators come to the aid of businesses, residences, fire and rescue, medical facilities and other locations, providing light, heat and refrigeration, as well as electricity for life-saving devices. While generators are critical pieces of equipment for storm recovery, consumers should keep several tips in mind for their safe and reliable operation.

"I've seen first-hand how generators come to the rescue of businesses and families weathering the aftermath of storms and hurricanes," said Kris Kiser, president and CEO of OPEI. "Generators are critical for disaster recovery, but it is imperative that they not be operated indoors, including in the garage, or outside next to an open window."

OPEI offers the following reminders for the safe operation of portable generators:

Read both your engine and generator operator manuals.

Only use your generator outdoors. Engines give off carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless, poisonous gas. Never use your generator inside homes, garages, crawl spaces or enclosed areas. Keep far away from open windows, vents or doors, and aim the exhaust outlet away from working areas.

Do not operate a generator near combustible materials. The engine's muffler becomes extremely hot during operation. Clear any leaves, grass, brush, or other combustible debris that may catch fire.

Never plug or wire your generator directly into your home outlet.

Allow engine to cool before refueling. And, allow your generator to adequately cool-down before storing.

Operate equipment on a firm, level surface.

Protect your generator from exposure to rain/snow. Generators produce powerful voltage. Do not operate a generator in wet conditions.

Install battery-operated CO alarms or plug-in CO alarms with battery back-up in your home.

Use fresh gasoline — Use fresh gas in your generator. If you do not plan to use your generator in 30 days, stabilize the gas with fuel stabilizer.