Nearly 160,000 people across West Michigan are out of power and generators are being purchased right and left. For those who are first time generator owners, here are a few helpful safety tips.

According to WOOD, when times are tough and the power is out, generators are a God send at keeping a house warm and a freezer from thawing out but there can be risks.

Make sure and read your generators manual before using. Lots of things can go wrong using a generator like accidental fire, carbon monoxide poisoning and even electrocution.

I hate to be Captain Obvious here but, don't put a running generator inside the house or any enclosed space while its running. Yes, they have an exhaust just like a car or a lawnmower and carbon monoxide can become deadly in just moments.

Make sure when you fire up your generator that it is at least 15 feet from your home and make sure the exhaust is pointed away from the home.

Also, most generators won't run your whole house and if you have any questions about that, make sure and speak with a professional. A professional can assist you in making a plug to run all or part of your house depending on the size generator your purchase.

If you are running your generator and the power company pulls up to get your power restored, shut off your generator so the crew person doesn't get a shock.

Make sure your generator is not close to the home, garage, trees, landscaping or anything that could fall on it that could potentially cause a fire.

Make sure your plug ins are dry when running cords to your generator. Wet plugs can electrocute the person plugging into them. So try and keep your generator dry while setting it up. If you have a cover for it make sure it is one that allows air flow and nothing is touching the exhaust.

Don't be afraid to read the entire generator manual or call a professional if you have any questions. Be safe and stay warm!