CORNING, N.Y. (WENY) -- When winter weather hits, it's important to be prepared. And if the power is out, stocking up and planning ahead can make the difference. The American Red Cross recommends keeping a few tips in mind.

"We want to make sure individuals fill and use your generator outside," says Brian McConnell, Executive Director of the Red Cross, Finger Lakes Chapter. "Make sure you are disconnecting your home or the location you're providing power to from the grid, so that the individuals out working to restore power don't experience a shock of their own."

Also using flashlights instead of candles to avoid any risk of fire. 

You should also crack open a window if you choose to use a kerosene lamp--this eliminates the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. 

In the kitchen, stock up on non-perishable food, but also keep any perishable items safe. The Red Cross also recommends packing refrigerated milk, dairy products, meats, fish and other perishable items in a cooler surrounded by ice. 

Food that could spoil should always be kept at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

If your fridge is out for more than 2-4 hours, experts recommend throwing perishables out.

"Just limit the amount of times you're opening or closing your refrigerator," says McConnell. "You want to take a portion of your perishable items and put that in a cooler. Slowly work your way throughout your perishable items."

The Red Cross also recommends sticking to manufacturer guidelines when it comes to heating and powering your home during an outtage. For example, not connecting your generator to any extension cords longer than 10 feet--even if your intention is to help a neighbor.

"If you're running a generator to help with power or preparing meals, invite them to your house," says McConnell. "Don't necessarily run an extension cord to your neighbors house to help power what they need."