If you have a generator, you may think you are ok, but you can only run it for as long as you have fuel and no one decides to “liberate” it from you.

Storing fuel is often not a viable option so your fuel requirements need to be seriously considered.  In most cases, a propane or natural gas generator will likely be your most practical option.  Unless you can safely store 20 gallons or 90 Liters of fuel, go with a propane generator.  They also tend to offer easier choices for auto start function.  This can be a true godsend when you are away from the home or cottage and people less familiar with working a generator are in need of it.   Remember to keep your starting battery fully charged with a trickle charger. In addition to an electric start, you should also look at having a pull start option.

Run the generator every two to three months for 30 minutes and flip the breakers on the house so you know that all circuits are properly operating.  Top up any fuel used with fresh supply.  It is one more chore for your busy life but you will be glad you did it when the lights go out.

Do not forget you will need engine oil, oil filters, spare spark plugs and air filters.  Running a generator for days is not something most of us ever experience so have everyone who may need to start, fuel, check oil levels and be familiar with the process. Everyone in the neighborhood will also know from the sound and the lights on in the house that you have power so be mindful of this when choosing how to silence the generator and how many lights you turn on inside or outside your home as you may be a target for theft of that generator.  Never run a generator in closed spaces such as a garage (even with the door open), do not run close to the home as fumes can easily seep back into the house.

If you leave the generator out in the back yard or other open area, you may find your generator stolen, so have someone babysit the generator if you need to leave the house and place the generator out of site. ALWAYS use two or three high quality security cables and locks and run through various parts on the generator.   Secure to steel structure, concrete pad or other VERY heavy item so it can’t be easily lifted and taken away. A pro can cut through cheap locks and cables in under 20 seconds so do not spare any effort in securing this important item.  Have your alarm company attach an alarm contact to it and set it as a 24 hour supervised device / like a smoke detector so you know if someone is trying to steal it.  Secure it as the prized possession it is.

Go here to learn more about the various situations you may encounter and some of your options.