Thursday, April 3, 2014

What do you do about phones when the power is out?

Did I tell you I'm a prepper? I'm definitely not the "be prepared to live off the grid for a year" type of prepper. I think it's great that some people are; it's just not me. I'm the kind of prepper who is always "struggling to be prepared" for the next power outage, or the hurricane or flood, or whatever might happen. 

When we lived in California (many years ago), I thought I was prepared to evacuate in case of an earthquake. I don't know if I really was prepared at that time, or if I just thought I was. But I wasn't prepared to evacuate when one of my sons and I left our apartment a couple years ago as the creek out back rose higher and higher. I grabbed my purse, and we both grabbed our phones, and we took off. When we got to dry ground, I called my hubby and the others who weren't home, and I asked them to meet us at the local grocery store. 

We were very fortunate to get my car out of here before it could be ruined, and that our apartment wasn't flooded. And it came at a time when we could afford to rent a motel for a night (there where a few times in the past when we might not have been able to do that).  

But we didn't have a change of clothing, or our personal care items, and my phone was rapidly running out of power. Fortunately, the others had their cell phones, charged and ready.

After that, I packed a backpack with a change of clothes and some toiletries for each of my husband and me (my kids are adults and can pack their own). And I planned to get car chargers for our cell phones. 

Whenever the power goes out, I've been so pleased that I keep a simple, non-electric phone that I can pull out of my emergency storage box and plug in. However, recently our phone company installed a little box...a little box that means the phone's power comes from us, no longer from the phone company. This little box has battery back-up, which I've heard only lasts for about six to eight hours. So, now I no longer have that excuse to keep the landline phone. 

You remember how I had "planned to get car chargers"? I had gotten myself one, and it paid off during the latest power outage. I was able to charge my phone, loan my phone to the neighbor lady in case she had an emergency in her apartment, and take her phone to Barnes and Noble to charge it for her (because she didn't have a car charger and she had a model-specific connection that wouldn't charge with my car charger). 

And you see, that's the same reason I only "planned" to get chargers for our other three phones. Because they have model-specific connections (and are older phones), I couldn't just walk into the provider's store, and buy them for my men-folk here. 

However, more recently, with an eye to giving up the landline, I finally took an hour or two and did the research about various types of connections, as well as research about each specific phone and its connection type. And I finally got everyone their car chargers! 

I even got myself a little battery-operated charger for my micro USB-compatible phone; so if we don't have power, and we don't want to go out to the car, we can have one phone, at least. I tried it today, and the little charger itself got hot pretty fast, but my phone did go from three bars to four in about ten minutes. And even if the phone were on zero, and I was nervous about the charger getting hot, I'm pretty sure you can text on one bar. 

So, what do you do about phones in a power outage or other emergency?  Do you have a car charger? A battery-operated charger? A hand-crank charger? (Yes, I've heard such a thing exists.). Walkie-talkies? I had to throw that last one in, because I've always loved walkie-talkies. And I might wish I had one, if my neighbor's phone runs out in another emergency. 


Dona said...

We haven't had a landline for quite some time, but I can certainly see them going the way of the dinosaur if they aren't going to hold a charge longer than a cell. I too strive to be a prepper, an emergency GO bag may be a good start.

Margaret Mary Myers said...

Thank you for commenting, Dona! :)