Backfeeding is the deadly practice of wiping your portable generator directly into a household socket. This act will supply electricity to the power lines which will create voltage. When a utility worker comes to check the "dead" lines during an outage, he will be electrocuted. The National Electric Safety Code prohibits returns by law and prosecution may be bought for offenders.
Still, there are many who continue this dangerous act. Often, the clothes dryer outlet is used to backfeed into the house. The belief is that if the main breaker is shut off, it is safe. Unfortunately, during times of crisis, a person may forget to turn off the breaker which could lead to a fatality. In addition, some household circuits may not be able to withstand the direct power of a generator. There have been reported cases of fires and blown out appliances.
As reported by the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta, the fifth cause of occupational deaths is electrocution. In recent years, a lineman from South Carolina went to help with hurricane damage and was killed due to generator backfeeding. The lineman went to cut an electrical line and was shocked to death because the homeowner had plugged the generator directly into the house.
To prevent backfeeding, generators should NEVER be connected into the electrical wiring of a home. The right way to use a generator is to use coded extension cords from the generator to the appliance that the homeowner wants to power; such as a freezer, lamp or stove.
Portable generators can be great assets, but caution is important. Always read the manual for safety.