Three Preparation Tips for the Next Blackout
COVID-19 isn’t the only challenge that Mother Nature has been throwing at us. The pandemic may be dominating most of our attention, but it’s important to remember there are other disruptions we need to prepare for. I’m talking about powerful storms that can knock power out for days. Yes, it’s that time of year when your daily life can quickly grind to a halt, and you find yourself becoming a nomad, in search of electricity to power your essential tech.
Recently, Tropical Storm Isaias blew through my neck of the woods, taking out power for over 675,000 people in Connecticut. It took almost a week for some folks to get their electricity back. My neighborhood was dark for days, but in a lucky twist of fate, our street didn’t go down.
So, we hosted a power-up barbeque for some friends whose house didn’t fare as well. They brought over their entire arsenal of mobile tech, and I set up a power station for them to use on our deck to maintain social distancing. As they were leaving, I also lent them one of my beefy RAVPower portable chargers to help maintain their tech glow for as long as possible.
Battery Back-Up Planning
When the power goes out, having a gas or propane power generator is obviously a great way to maintain your home’s critical equipment, like heat and air conditioning. (Plus, it will keep your smartphone charged!)
But short of taking this expensive step, having enough portable battery power on hand may be sufficient to at least maintain your electronic communication needs for a few days.
This may seem obvious, but it’s always a good idea to review the state of your battery back-up arsenal before you need it.
My parents taught me to always have a good flashlight on hand along with candles and matches. Here are three next-generation tips:
Prioritize your Smartphones
Make sure you have enough rechargeable portable power banks to keep all of your family’s smartphones going for a week. Say what you will about our reliance on the smartphone, but communication with the outside world is really important, especially during an emergency.
I’m partial to Anker and RAVPower products. Recently, I picked up a RAVPower battery with a twist… it also has a solar charger on its side to help keep it going.
It’s the RAVPower Solar Power Bank (25,000mAh)
$45.99 on Amazon
RAVPower says it will charge an iPhone 8 nine times and a iPad mini 4 three times.
Speaking of solar…
Goal Zero makes a variety of solar panels that will charge your portable tech (as long as the sun shines).
Their products are designed for camping, but they’ll work just fine when you’re camping out at home without electricity.
It’s expensive tech, but the sun is free to use.
Use your Car as a Digital Life Boat
If you’ve got a car, you probably already have a smartphone charger set up in it. Don’t forget about that charger, even if you’re not driving anywhere.
Your vehicle can easily become your digital oasis.
Time to Set Up Camp at Home
No, none of this is revolutionary. The idea is to simply make sure you’ve got enough battery power to recharge your tech when the unexpected happens.
In a pinch, my parents relied on candles. They always work.
So does a little portable power and the right charging cables.
When the power goes out, and your home looks like it’s devolving into a wilderness, you’ll feel a lot better if you can easily set up your digital tent and go camping!