Summer is upon us, and in Australia, that means storms. Power outages as a result can be seriously obnoxious. No internet, no TV, no lights. A prolonged outage is always a danger during a serious storm, no matter the kind. And while it might not happen, you always want to be prepared.
Obviously the biggest hurdle you’ll face during a power outage is going to be lack of power. And keeping your phone/laptop/tablet charged isn’t just a matter of convenience, sometimes it’s your only two-way connection to the outside world.
The best solution, of course, is to be prepared. If you have battery packs or other sources of portable power, charge those suckers up. If you don’t, it’s all the more important to keep your gadgets topped off when a blackout’s impending. Make sure you don’t burn through half your battery playing Angry Birds only to have the lights go out as you’re reaching for a charger. And stock up on good old fashioned AAs and AAAs too. You might not be able to run your phone on them, but a AA-powered mini-torch is going to beat the hell out of wasting phone battery on illuminating the way to the bathroom at night.
If it’s too late to prepare, you’ve still got some options. Remember that your car — so long as it’s full of petrol and reachable — is pretty much a giant petrol-powered battery. With a cigarette-lighter adaptor, you can charge up your gadgets with ease. But please, make sure the exhaust isn’t blocked.
With a little foresight and the right gadgets, you can milk all kinds of power directly from the car’s battery, so long as it holds out anyway. Likewise, it never hurts to get a two-outlet lamp-socket so you can siphon sweet, sweet power from emergency lighting if for some reason it comes down to that.
This is all prep. Make sure you round up a bunch of canned goods before the storm hits. Hooray for lukewarm canned soup. But hey, at least you won’t starve. And if, by chance, you rely on an electric can opener: stop it. Get a real one.
Water water everywhere. Staying hydrated might not seem like that big of a deal since the emergency at hand involves a whole bunch of it falling from the sky in a conveniently non-flooding type form, but you can’t be too careful. You’ll want to have one gallon of drinking water per person per day. And on top of that, you’ll also need water for washing dishes, washing parts of yourself, and washing your excrement down the toilet.
Last and — let’s face it — probably least, you should make sure you have something to do. Board games and non-electronic books are always a good bet if you have lighting (which you should). A deck of cards can also go a long way. It’s also wise to prepare for conversation with whatever human beings may happen to be in the vacinity. Brush up on your small talk, or big talk.
Just like getting through anything, getting through a power outage is 99 per cent preparedness, so just take a cool five minutes to sit down and really think about what you’re going to need to accomplish, if and when the lights go out. So long as you’re not an idiot, you should get by just fine.