You can store electricity before the outage: here's how

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- One of the biggest lifelines in a power outage can be your cellphone. But will it keep working during an outage? If you plan ahead, you can store up electricity in those devices. Here's how.

First, make sure to fully charge your cellphones, laptops and tablets while you still can.

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Next, get one or more external batteries for your devices, and fully charge those as well.

An old laptop can also be used as an extra charging station for your phone. Charge that up ahead of time too.

Finally, turn down the brightness on your cellphone to extend battery life.

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And if you have an electric car, don't forget to charge that beforehand as well.

Another important tip: Unplug devices during an outage or make sure they're on a surge protector. Power suddenly turning back on can ruin your devices otherwise.

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"Here's the good news about this outage,'' said Connie Guglielmo, editor in chief at CNET. "We know it's coming. So unlike other disasters, earthquakes, pick your disaster, at least this is a planned one so you know what to do."

Major cellphone carriers say they are ready in case of an outage. AT&T, Sprint, Verizon and T-Mobile all said they have backup generators that can be used in case power to their towers goes out. The only hitch is whether they will have access to the towers to refuel those generators. So, if you lose WiFi in a power outage, you still should have access to data.

For the latest stories about PG&E's Public Safety Power Shutoff go here.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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