SIKESTON -- With this storm, as well as several that have led to power outages in the past year, generator sales have been big.
"That's about the only customer's we've had," said Paula McDowell, office manager at B&B Boats and Bikes in Sikeston, about business over the past couple of days. Customers began coming in Monday to purchase the equipment, she said.
"With recent power outages fresh in citizens' memories, it makes sense to secure an alternate fuel source such as firewood, heater, or a generator," said a recent news release from the State Emergency Management Association.
However, it's important to remember safety measures when it come to using those. For instance, people should make sure their fireplace functions properly and read all manuals before using a kerosene heather or generator for the first time.
Whenever someone purchases a generator, staff talks to them about safety measures, and there is more information in the manual that accompanies it, McDowell said.
Chad Robbins, a mechanic at B&B, offered a few tips for those hooking up a generator for the first time. "You definitely don't want to sit it inside where you are going to be breathing any of the fumes," he said. "You want to sit it in a well-ventilated area."
The same rule of thumb applies to kerosene heaters, which should be refilled outside and kept at least three feet away from flammable objects, advised SEMA. "Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat when charcoal is burned to heat your home," the news release said.
Robbins suggested that if a generator is set up in the garage, the door is cracked open. He also said it shouldn't be placed next to anything that can catch fire. "The exhaust puts out heat and could get something hot and lead to a fire," he said.
And since it does get hot, the generator needs to be kept somewhere so children and pets don't accidentally touch it and hurt themselves.
SEMA also advised that people read the labels on lighting, appliances and equipment before connecting it to the generator so they don't require more power than the generator produces.
"And remember the initial power surge," said the news release. "If your equipment draws more power than the generator can produce, you may blow a fuse on the generator or damage your equipment."