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Worried about power outages? These 5 tips can help you feel prepared

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(BPT) - While you may enjoy warmer temperatures, summer weather also brings dangerous storms. Scientists at Colorado State University predict at least 19 named tropical storms and nine hurricanes this year, while AccuWeather is forecasting an above-average tornado season. These unpredictable events and regular summer thunderstorms can produce unexpected power outages.

You rely on the power grid for everything from working and household chores to all kinds of entertainment, not to mention keeping your home comfortable and secure. An hour without power is inconvenient, but how about several hours, days or weeks? On average, electricity customers have experienced over eight hours of electric power interruptions in recent years, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Living without power for that long is challenging today, and sometimes even dangerous.

How can you prepare for extended power outages?

Weather is unpredictable, as is the reliability of the power grid when it is under strain. So how can you be ready? Here are some tips to help you feel more prepared.

1. Store extra flashlights and batteries

The first thing you want when power goes out after dark is to shed a little light on the situation. Stock up on flashlights and batteries for your entire household, making sure everyone knows where to find them. Consider getting headlamps so people can see and have free hands to make other arrangements during an outage. For young children, light sticks and glow bracelets are a fun way to see better while calming the worries a storm can bring. Wireless chargers for cell phones and other devices can also help keep you connected to your family, neighbors and community.

2. Stay tuned to forecasts

The National Weather Service provides NOAA Weather Radio, a nationwide service giving listeners forecasts, watches and warnings 24/7. You can access NOAA Weather online and through NOAA radio apps for your smartphone. A battery-operated radio will give you access, or you can get an NOAA Weather Radio specifically designed to stay tuned to important weather updates.

3. Stock water and non-perishable food

Water purification systems may not function if power in your area is affected. When the power is out and you don't have a home standby generator to power your stove, you won't be able to boil water to purify it. Because of this, it’s a good idea to store two weeks of clean, drinkable water in your home. FEMA recommends at least one gallon of water per person in your household.

Another hazard from power outages is food spoilage. According to the CDC, a full freezer keeps food safe for 48 hours (or 24 hours if half-full) if you don’t open the door. Your refrigerator will keep food safe up to four hours without power if you keep the door closed.

To prepare for emergencies, make an emergency kit with enough bottled water, canned goods, dried meat and fruit, powdered milk and any other shelf-stable foods for each person in the family to last at least a few days.

4. Discuss severe weather plans

Don’t wait until extreme weather threatens to explain to kids what to expect during these unexpected — and scary — events. Knowing that you’re stocked up on supplies and that you planned ahead is reassuring to kids. Discuss what to do if power goes out and where flashlights and supplies are stored.

5. Invest in a home standby generator

The best protection against power outages is a home standby generator. When the power goes out, day or night, a home generator takes over within seconds, keeping all your important appliances including your HVAC system, sump pump, refrigerator and freezer running — not to mention lights and conveniences that are helpful during a storm.

Home standby generators such as Briggs & Stratton Home Generators are permanently installed outside your home and connected to a natural gas or liquid propane fuel source. They're designed to supply power for your entire home and have an automatic transfer switch so that power comes on without any action needed from you.

Although the 2022 storm season is predicted to be above-normal for many types of weather events, you can protect yourself, your family and your home with a proactive plan. Learn more about preparing for weather emergencies at BriggsAndStratton.com.