Here in the Northeast it seems that we're getting hit with at least one storm a year that knocks out power for days, not hours. Here in Northwest NJ two years ago it was a freak October ice storm, this year it was Irene (we didn't lose power then, thank goodness), and now this past October snow. I thought it might be interesting to start a "lessons learned" thread about what worked and what didn't, what you'd do differently next time, etc... Here is my list: Generator connection/placement - My generator is nothing fancy. It's a hand-me-down Generac from my FIL who used to use it in his construction business. It's loud and not terribly powerful (4500W), but it did the job. However, I realized that for extended periods especially, running a rats nest of cords to my critical systems (2 sump pumps, wood furnace blower, chest freezer, refrigerator) is not ideal. I am going to invest in a 30 Amp power inlet along with an interlock switch for my main panel before the new year. This will also allow me to cycle my hot water heater. I had my first hot shower in four days yesterday. Finally, since the plugs are a standard item, a different/larger generator could always be easily connected as well. As far as placement, I had been running the generator on the deck, which for short periods is fine, but by the end of the second day it was driving us nuts. I lucked out and was able to buy another cord at Lowes (literally the last 12 gauge cord they had) in order to move it off of my deck. My property slopes down in the back of my house and I was thinking of building a little "house" into the hillside for the generator maybe 15 feet away from my foundation that would be open on one side. The idea would be to place the generator inside under a roof in order to deaden the sound and protect it from weather. Headlamps - Can't say enough good things about these! My wife had gotten me a set of four for Christmas as a stocking stuffer-she saw them at the checkout and grabbed them on her way out. I hadn't opened them until the Friday before the storm hit. Instead of fumbling with a flashlight when trying to set the air control on the furnace or start the generator in the middle of the night I had both hands free. Having a full freezer - When I first got my chest freezer I saved milk jugs, filled them with water, and froze them. I would add or subtract jugs of ice as I added or took out food so that the freezer was always full to the brim. Even after being off for 5 hours at one point the temps in the freezer were still in the high teens. Not ideal, but not warm enough to spoil either. Wood furnace - This is really only specific to those with forced air wood furnaces, but I really need to get some kind of tee with a "trap door" that can function as a heat dump for when there is no power. Whenever I was not running the generator I had to manually disconnect the duct work (I just peeled the tape off of the joint in order to let it dump into the basement. Not ideal. Propane grill - We have an electric stove (which I hate) so we were SOL as far as cooking. I was going to try a recipe that pen posted for some dutch oven bread in the woodstove, but I didn't get to it. I'm going try it regardless of the power being on or not one of these days though. I figured out that you can cook pretty much anything on a propane grill. I removed one side of the grill to expose the burner which I used for setting a cast iron skillet directly on top of. I made some really good cheese eggs and an omelet that way. We had burgers of course along with some pork roll on the grill itself, but on night three I decided to wrap up some chicken nuggets and perogies (we only had frozen food at that point) in foil and they cooked even better than they do in the electric oven! Any others?