Are you prepared for Hurricane Irma? Irma, a category 5 hurricane is predicted to make landfall in Florida and work its way up the East Coast in the near future.  Hurricanes typically mean power outages, power outages mean it’s time to fire up your generator. Every year, customer’s of EZ Generator Switch run into issues pertaining to their generator’s. Below, we outline how to ensure you are prepared in case of a power outage, either from Hermine or future storms.

Running a generator can make you forget that the electricity is out, but it’s important you don’t. Even if you own a generator, you should prepare for an outage like you would without one. In fact, you will have to take even more precautions, because there are steps you must take for the generator, too.

Here are some tips for how a generator owner can stay prepared at all times:

Make sure you have fuel: During widespread power outages, gas stations shut down because they need the electricity to run their pumps. So, before a storm comes make sure you have enough fuel for your generator as well as in your car’s gas tank.

Know how to manually open your garage: Many people keep their portable generators in their garage, then find the door won’t open when the electricity goes out. Make sure you know where the manual release lever is, and test it out beforehand to ensure it’s not jammed and that it’s not too heavy for you.

Be efficient with your appliance usage: Just because your generator is powering your appliances doesn’t give you a pass to use them excessively. Always be cautious of how much wattage you’re using—make sure you don’t exceed the generator’s capability—and be quick and efficient when you use the appliances.

Don’t forgo the essentials: Even with a generator, you shouldn’t skip preparedness measures, like keeping an emergency kit with first aid supplies, extra batteries, hygiene items, etc. The biggest reason why you should always stay prepared for a power outage regardless is there’s always a chance the generator could fail or you could run out of fuel.

Keep checking your electricity: If you have a standby generator, it will automatically turn on and off when you lose power and when it returns. But if you have a portable you have to turn it on and off manually, and it’s tough to tell when the electricity comes back. You can call your power company, if your neighbor has a standby unit you can listen to see if it’s running, or worst case, you can turn your generator off and check. But you should be adamant about this so you don’t waste fuel.

If you follow these steps, you’ll hardly be bothered when the electricity goes out.