Make sure you have a battery-operated or weather radio, multiple flashlights and a battery-operated clock and fan, along with extra batteries. Keep these items in a place when you can easily get to them.
If you have a portable generator, read the owners' manual and make sure you understand how it operates before trying to use it. Do not connect it directly to the electrical system of your home. Electricity could flow backward into the power lines and endanger lives. Either have a qualified electrician perform the work or plug appliances directly into the portable generator.
If you're running a portable generator, be sure to use properly rated extension cords.
Also, make sure the portable generator is properly vented to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Do not place a portable generator in your home or an enclosed space with limited ventilation like a garage or a screened porch. It needs to be far enough away from your house that you don't asphyxiate yourself and your family.
Also, be considerate of your neighbors. Try to site the generator so it doesn't asphyxiate or deafen those living nearby.
Familiarize yourself with your main electrical panel. You may have to turn off the main breaker or have to reset circuit breakers after an outage. Inspect the area around your electricity meter. If you detect or suspect any damage, call your local utility provider. Of course, the likelihood your utility will answer is slim to zero in most areas but it doesn't hurt to try.
Story provided by ConsumerAffairs.