A word for those affected by this event -
Many people will be hitting this forum over the next days and weeks, with their power out, and either trying to get an old generator to carry them through or perhaps with a new one that quit on you. But long after this storm is gone, Matthew will still be killing. I GUARANTEE that someone will be electrocuted. And I GUARANTEE that MULTIPLE households will be devastated or wiped out by carbon monoxide poisoning. In other words, someone's neighbor, family, or first responders will get the pleasure of prying open a strangely quiet house and being greeted by the smell of a dead family. Others will be 'more lucky' and the kids will find their parents dead, or vice versa. And I suspect the count of people who are made sick but survive is much higher. I know this is gruesome but I'm trying to drive home that the fumes from a running engine can and will kill you, and the only symptom may be you feel a bit tired and want to go to sleep.
Your generator MUST NOT BE IN OR NEAR YOUR HOUSE. Chain it to a tree or chain it to your neighbors upside down boat in your back yard, or if you can't secure it, just take the risk it gets stolen, but don't die. NOT in your garage, carport, or ANY structure 'attached' to a occupied area.
Some of you will be under stress and feeling a lot of pressure to get the power on, maybe you have a medications in the fridge, or a relative who does not do well when the heat and AC is off. Many of you may know little about electricity and wiring. Please remember that voltage KILLS even after a hurricane, even if you think you 'really really' need the power. And backfeeding is illegal and very dangerous. You're backfeeding if you got a double ended power cord that plugs the generator into your drier outlet. You're backfeeding any time that if you switch the main breaker on, you can energize the outgoing line. It's a horrid idea but if you just HAVE to do it, make sure your main utility breaker is OFF and LOCKED UP. Put the key in YOUR pocket. Keep it there till the generator is disconnected and put away. And if you come here for help after accidentally kicking the main breaker on and smoking your generator, be aware that most of us are not too forgiving. Also it's very likely you have destroyed some very expensive parts of your generator.
Feel free to ask questions and there are a lot of 'experts' on this board who will try to help. Many of us make a living with generators and we can help you. But please stay aware of your own limitations and be patient-it may take a few hours to get an answer in some cases. Post a make, model, serial, and maybe some pictures, and that will help a lot.