In the aftermath of Hurricane Irma, more than 6 million residents of Florida are without power, and many could remain that way for weeks. Some Floridians have only darkened homes to contend with, while others are dealing with water damage, or worse.

For those whose houses aren’t flooded but are preparing for a potentially prolonged power outage, Consumer Reports experts offer a few ways to navigate your home safely in the days to come.

Use Caution When Operating a Generator

Generator misuse can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Already, four deaths and multiple hospitalizations have been reported in Florida following Hurricane Irma, believed to be caused by running a generator inside the house.

"Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, so you won't even know you're inhaling it," explains Don Huber, CR's Director of Product Safety. And running a generator improperly can kill you, if the concentration of carbon monoxide is high enough, in as little as five minutes.

"No matter what, resist the urge to move a portable generator inside the house or the garage," Huber says. Operate it as far from the house as possible—at least 15 feet—and away from doors or windows. If you don’t have a transfer switch, you can use the outlets on the generator, provided you follow certain precautions.

Unplug Your Appliances

If you see absolutely no signs of flooding, disconnect your appliances from power outlets. “When power lines are damaged, there can be a spike or surge in the line, when electricity is restored, that could potentially damage your appliances,” says John Galeotafiore, associate director of product testing at CR.

Never do this, though, while standing in water. And wait for a pro to inspect any appliances that came into contact with floodwater.

Write Important Info Down on Paper

If you didn’t take note of emergency telephone numbers before the storm, take the time to do it now. Don’t depend on the contact list in your phone, since the battery may die. Instead, write down phone numbers and addresses you might need, such as a nearby hospital, a school that's providing supplies, the local library or storm shelter, or other public places that might have power—places where you’ll be able to go to recharge your electronics and contact loved ones.

Then, conserve the phone’s battery life by switching the phone to a power-saving setting, such as airplane mode on an iPhone or economy mode on an Android device.

When you make your way to a local shelter or library, it’s a smart idea to bring a power strip, says Maria Rerecich, CR director of electronics testing. This way, when you do find power, you can charge multiple devices at once—or share the makeshift charging station with others.

Use Your Gas Stove to Prepare Food

In homes that have lost power but suffered little other damage, you can safely cook on a gas stove by lighting the gas burner with a match or a lighter to ignite the flame.

More Post-Storm Advice

What to cook, though, is another question. Food in your refrigerator is likely well past the window when it would still be safe to eat. (If you keep the doors closed, a refrigerator can maintain a safe temperature—below 40° F—for about 4 hours; beyond that, toss anything perishable.) Toss any food that may have come in contact with floodwaters, advises the USDA’s guide to food safety during storms and hurricanes.

Get creative foods that will keep without refrigeration—apples, peppers, carrots, tomatoes—and with grains and canned goods to feed your family when the power is out.

No Gas Stove? Use a Gas Grill

A gas grill offers another cooking option when there’s no electricity in the kitchen. If you were able to properly store your grill in a dry space, such as a garage, before the storm and notice no water damage to the grill or gas tank, it should be safe to use it to grill food.

Be sure, as always, to use the grill in a well-ventilated area. Of course, don’t try to grill any foods that have been without refrigeration for more than a few hours, and follow the USDA's food-safety recommendations for grilling.

Avoid Any Standing Water in Your Home

Even if upper floors weren’t effected, don’t venture into areas that are dark, even if you have a flashlight.

“If a basement has several feet of water, don’t walk into it,” advises Galeotafiore. Water can be contaminated by a stew of chemicals or other debris, and it can carry an electric current should power be restored.