MILWAUKEE, Sept. 3, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the past year, homeowners across the U.S. have experienced several weather disasters including Hurricane Sandy, Hurricane Issac, winter storm Draco, and the devastating tornado that rocked Moore, Okla. The recent rash of strong storms make September's National Preparedness Month, sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) Ready campaign, especially noteworthy as homeowners begin thinking about storm preparedness. (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20120529/CG15020LOGO) Even without a major storm event, an average of 3.5 million Americans experience a power outage each week, according to the Edison Electric Institute. Homeowners that have experienced a power outage, or live in an area that experiences frequent power outages, should consider investing in backup power. What is backup power? Generators help ensure that families get through blackouts caused by unexpected situations safely and comfortably by providing backup power during an electricity outage. Two types of generators are available to homeowners and understanding their differences and capabilities makes selecting the best generator for your needs much easier. Portable generators: The immediate backup power supply Portable generators work well as an immediate solution and can power a few critical items and appliances such as a refrigerator, TV and basic lights. When the power goes out, homeowners must set up the unit by properly positioning it outside and far away from living spaces, doors and windows prior to connecting it to critical items. "Portable generators provide backup power during utility outages while keeping families comfortable," said Eric Loferski, director of marketing for Briggs & Stratton. "It is important to note that they can be very dangerous if not operated properly. Because portable generators are powered by small engines that emit potentially harmful carbon monoxide gas, it is critical for both experienced and new operators alike to understand the hazards." The unit should be refueled with fresh gas every six to eight hours. If a portable gas generator is not going to be used within 30 days of refueling, the gas should be treated with a fuel stabilizer to help ensure that the unit performs when needed.