Tricounty News

Harsh seasonal weather concerns

No matter where you live, extreme seasonal weather can do damage to your home or leave you without power. Homeowners are increasingly concerned about more than just physical damage to their houses - with such challenges as food spoilage and losing touch with loved ones topping their lists. New research from the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) shows that more and more consumers are worried about experiencing power outages resulting from severe weather events. The fear of being disconnected (through loss of phone, Internet and television access) is cited as a top concern. About half of more than 1,000 adults surveyed report being very or somewhat concerned about facing a severe weather event (such as a tornado, hurricane, tropical storm or ice storm) in the next 12 months. Furthermore, nearly one in three consumers nationwide (30 percent) say they are more afraid that their community will face severe weather in the next year or so, as compared to a few years ago. Not surprisingly, adults living in the South are approximately twice as likely to say they are more concerned about extreme weather hitting their community this year, as compared to those residing in the Northeast and West (42 percent versus 22 percent and 18 percent, respectively). After spoiled food, being out of touch tops the list of the most troubling issues arising from power loss for more than 24 hours. Overall, adults are more concerned about staying connected, both for personal and work purposes, than they were two years ago. About three in five (60 percent) respondents say they would worry about how to stay informed about news and weather under such conditions, and about half (52 percent) say they would have concerns about the loss of computer or phone service. This pressing need by homeowners to stay connected during power outages illustrates the importance of standby generators. However, when preparing for extreme weather and power outages, significantly fewer adults actually invest in such generators. When stocking up the home in preparations for storms, adults tend to focus on emergency supply kits and food and water instead. "Propane-powered standby generators provide a reliable energy source during stormy weather and its aftermath, offering some normalcy - and peace of mind - during unstable times," says Kate Caskin, senior vice president of PERC. For information about preparing your home for extreme weather with standby generators, visit www.usepropane.com. The new survey about severe weather events and home preparedness was conducted this summer using Opinion Research Corporation's CARAVAN Omnibus Survey. Telephone interviews were completed with a nationally representative sample of 1,002 adults ages 18 and older. StatePoint Minnesota