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Memphis police officers block off Central Ave. where a power line was downed across the road on Thursday in Memphis, Tennessee. (Brad Vest/Getty Images)

Power outages have affected more than 130,000 customers in the US so far as a huge storm brings snow, ice, sleet and rain to the central and eastern US.

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In case a power outage lasts a few days, you should have the following on hand:

  • Extra food and water: A three- to seven-day supply is a good standard
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Battery-powered radio
  • Extra medicine
  • First-aid supplies

If you need to make a trip outside, keep it as brief as you can and layer up, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says. Check with your local emergency authorities to make sure it’s safe to drive or travel in the cold.

Generators can release poisonous carbon monoxide if you use them inside your home. If you’re using one, keep it outside about 20 feet away from your home, the CDC advises.

Depending on a generator’s power capacity, it can emit as much carbon monoxide as a few hundred idling cars. Even if you’ve lost electricity, you still need to disconnect your normal source of power by turning the main breaker or fuse off before plugging the generator into a household circuit, according to the CDC. Try to keep the generator dry and use heavy-duty extension cords to plug refrigerators or laptop chargers directly into the generator.

You should never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home, according to, the US government’s online disaster planning resource.

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Avoid opening your fridge or freezer during the power outage to keep your food cold. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, a fridge can keep food cold during an outage for about four hours, and a freezer will keep its temperature for about 48 hours.

Read more tips here and read helpful guidelines on generators from the National Weather Service in Memphis in the post below:

And review this in case you absolutely need to go out and get stuck:

What to pack in your car to stay safe during severe winter weather

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