Prepare your family-tech before a major storm or power failure occurs

Creative Commons public domain

Creative Commons public domain

Whether it’s winter storms, fall hurricanes  or just random occurrences, power failures are a fact of life and can happen any time and anywhere. If they do occur, they can affect your family’s technology and that same technology can be a life saver in an emergency, assuming it’s ready to use. So to be safe, go through this tech checklist to make sure  you’re ready for the unexpected.

  • Batteries, flashlights and portable radios are a must. Also consider flashlights and radios with a crank that don’t even need batteries.
  • Be sure to charge your cell phone and laptop ahead of any possible power outage.
  • If you have a landline, have a corded (not cordless) phone plugged in that will work without power (as long as phone lines are OK).
  • Be aware that landlines can fail and even cell phones could be unavailable if their towers are down or if the network is overwhelmed.
  • Consider an uninterruptable power supply or UPS that can keep your computer, cellular modem and Internet router charged for at least a couple of hours. I have a separate UPS for my modem, router and Internet phone adapter.
  • Get an external backup battery for your cell phone that can recharge the battery even if the power goes down.
  • Get a car-adapter so you can plug your cell phone into your car’s cigarette lighter plug.
  • Know how to set up a Wi-Fi hotspot from your phone (also called “tethering”) so you can access the Internet on your laptop if your home Internet connection is disrupted (data charges may apply so don’t use it to stream video).
  • Be aware that home security systems may not work during a power failure.
  • Have a plan if you need Wi-Fi access if you have no power or Internet access at home or work.

If the power does go out, it’s a good idea to unplug computers and TV sets to protect against a power surge when it comes back on. Don’t panic if you forget. You’re probably OK, but it’s still a good idea.

Also, consider parking your car away from big trees during a major wind storm so it’s there for  you if you need it.

Adapted from a post that first appeared on