Fuel can be in very short supply at the pump and even gone within an hour of any disaster.

If you can or need to safely store gas or diesel fuel at home or the cottage, try and store in a metal “jerry can”. Typical plastic gas containers you see for boating, lawnmowers etc have a chemical reaction with gas and your gas will turn bad within months.  Always use fuel stabilizer and depending on the type of fuel and container you use, change fuel out every 1 to 3 months.   It’s worth the extra cost and inconvenience to obtain the metal jerry cans and to also rotate out old fuel.

Follow manufacturer’s guidelines and seek advice on operating the generator, sub panels etc from installation Company.

When the power is out, try turning the generator on for only an hour or two so you can power up fridge, freezers, TV, Radio, charge all electrical devices, shower or cook.  Then shut down till needed again. When you do shut generator down, this is the time you want to refill with fresh fuel, AND check the oil or if equipped, the radiator fluid levels!  

During an emergency, even the most experienced individuals often forget these essential tasks and they suddenly find themselves with no power all because they forgot to check the oil.   Read the manuals and make sure you are comfortable with operating it.

Having lived through the ice storm of 1998 with no regular power for thirteen days (generator only), has provided me with real life appreciation for how dependent we are on power.  Like many, I can live very comfortably outdoors but when you are at home things are significantly different.  Your morale takes a hit, family members become frustrated or afraid, people start making silly mistakes, phones are not working, no internet etc. Life without power in a home is not the same as an organized camping trip.

Make sure you have a number of spare parts like spark plugs, oil and air filters, fuses and cable plugs.  You will not be able to go to the local distributer and buy what you want so you must be as self-sufficient as possible.

Consider writing up instructions and using photos to show how to start and stop the unit as well as all the associated electrical panel breakers. Post with generator as well as near the electrical panel inside the home.

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