To mitigate potential risks for homeowners, The Hartford Steam Boiler Inspection and Insurance Company (HSB), part of Munich Re, has created a list of measures that can help protect home equipment and avoid potential dangers when a power outage occurs:
Unplug computers, home entertainment systems and non-essential equipment and appliances. This helps prevent surge damage when electrical power is restored.
Operate portable generators only through a properly installed transfer switch or plug appliances directly into the generator using a properly rated extension cord.
Do not connect a generator to a home's electrical system which can feed power onto exterior power lines and cause an electrocution risk to utility employees
Do not run portable generator in enclosed spaces such as a garage to avoid the danger of carbon monoxide.
Limit opening refrigerator and freezer doors. Food will keep longer if doors remain closed. If the power is out longer than two hours, throw away food that has a temperature higher than 40F.
Do not use charcoal or gas grills or camp stoves for cooking in enclosed areas.
Stay away from downed power lines. Always assume the lines are "live." Call 911 to report any downed lines.
Homeowners with automatic garage door openers should check the manufacturer's instructions to learn how to open the door manually.