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      When the lights go out

      As hurricane and thunderstorm season hits in Southwest Georgia, the chances for power outages go up, but experts say there are some tips to help you better handle those few hours in the dark.If you're suddenly without power, Lorie Farkas with Albany Water Gas & Light says make sure you have the tools needed to get you through the outage.Farkas says it's important to stock up on batteries and flashlights and put them in easy-to-reach places so you're able to get to them in the dark.If you happen to be cooking or using a hot appliance when the outage happens, Farkas says make sure you turn the power switch off so you don't cause a fire when the electricity comes back.While you may be worried about your food spoiling, Jay Smith with Georgia Power says you can limit the chances of ruining your items if you open the fridge and freezer as little as possible so the cold air can't escape.If the temperature outside is pretty high, Smith says to also limit closing and opening doors so you can keep the cool air in and the hot air out.Both Farkas and Smith say once an outage happens, their teams are alerted and begin to work on it immediately so they usually don't last more than a few hours.If your electricity is supplied by Georgia Power, you can call in and an automated system will give you an estimated time that the air will come back on.Officials say if that time is a few hours, it's best to go out and run errands if you can, otherwise wait out the storm and it will pass, as well as the outage.

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