Gadget Gifts To Help You Survive The Next Power Outage, Armonk

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It's always a good to be prepared for the next Storm of the Century. A little shopping can go a long way. Photo Credit: Flicker user AllEquipped

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Hurricane Sandy won’t be soon forgotten so make sure you don't forget to prepare yourself for the next power outage. 

"I am glad we had plenty of propane to fire up the grill, but I wish we'd remembered to buy a regular radio so we didn't have to run to the car all the time," said Meg Hotte Jednak of Yorktown Heights. She added: "I also wish I'd restocked my first aid kit, and I'll make sure I do that before the next storm. That would make a good gift."

Storm preparedness itself might be a fine gift-giving theme this holiday season. Here are a few popular hi- (and low-) tech necessities you might consider giving – or receiving -- ahead of the next power outage.

Darkness might be among the first obstacles you face when the power goes out. An LED flashlight is a fine tool to have in the house because it requires less battery power and lasts longer than regular incandescent models. LED flashlights also tend to be more durable than old-fashioned bulb lights or even CFL lanterns. The Princeton Tec Torrent ($69.95) is rated for 126 lumens of brightness and it should last for roughly 30 hours on eight AAA batteries. You just have to remember where you put it before the lights went out.

Now that you can see where you’re going, it’s time to charge up your devices: this thin, light, solar-charged backup battery charger ($27.95) for cellphones, iPhones, iPads and many USB-powered devices, has a built-in LED reading light and window/windshield suction cups.

Although people born before 1990 might not be aware such a device exists, a good, old-fashioned battery-operated radio ($11.95) is a fine item to have around the house in advance of and during a storm.

Decidedly old-fashioned but definitely more fun are hand-cranked radios ($39.95) such as this one, which also comes with a digital NOAA weather alert and a three-LED flashlight, along with a smartphone charger and other features.

Alarmists might consider a more drastic approach to storm preparedness. Just peering in to the “Mayday 4 Person Deluxe Emergency Backpack Kit,” ($56.25) which contains items such as solar blankets, dust masks, water purification tablets, strike-anywhere matches and more, might make a recipient nervous.

Massive power outages can call for massive battery power, which is exactly what the APC BR1500G Back-Up Pro 1500 ($189.99) offers. This charger, which sports 10 outlets, is not something you plug into the outlet at Starbucks to charge your phone. Rather, this monster, about the size of an old-fashioned desktop computer, is a tech lifesaver during an outage, and can charge multiple devices simultaneously. One caveat: the bigger the device you plug in, the more quickly the charger will drain.

If you’re looking to power some smaller but necessary devices, the i.sound Portable Power Max ($69.99), with five USB ports will charge the whole family’s smartphones. Additionally, LED indicators let you know how much charge you have left on the battery.

Good to have in the house whether or not there is power, is a fire extinguisher ($51.99), particularly if you’re maintaining a hot fire in the hearth for supplemental warmth.

Engine power isn’t always manifested by speed, particularly when you’re not going anywhere. During a power outage, you can tap into your vehicle’s AC current with a Belkin 300w DC/AC converter ($42.99) and charge a phone or computer or even an electric shaver (for hygiene emergencies).

One thing you might not have taken into consideration when pondering emergency-preparedness gifts: a zombie apocalypse. If you’re at all concerned about an un-dead uprising, you can rest assured that you’re prepared for everything. According to its Amazon description, the scarily pricey Zombie Apocalypse Survival Kit ($299.99) contains among the following zombie-annihilation must-haves: “three knives, three machetes, a high-performance axe and a hatchet.

You can’t say you weren’t warned.

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Comments (6)

baron.barnaby:

The custom of the giving out gifts were practiced during the Victorian period where English families thought of creative ways for them to show their affection for each other.

glainegarett:

Very helpful list! Power outage always very struggling to survive nicely and therefore being prepared from previously is the smart option. Thanks for helpful reference and I'll keep in mind these ways to survive upcoming power outage effectively.

Kenne:

Great list, i was not having most of them, and i agree with catsnharps, having a flameless candle are really convenient.

catsnharps:

Flameless candles are a good thing to have instead of real ones. You can have them in every room.

ironbutttrfly:

I'd suggest investing in hand-cranked lanterns, not just the battery operated ones. I've gotten bad batches of batteries before (luckily not in an emergency) so I was able to exchange them out.

halmarc45:

"An LED flashlight is a fine tool to have in the house because it requires less battery power and lasts longer than regular incandescent models."
Untrue, a LED flashlight is only about a bulb that lasts longer.

While the candles pictured above may have limited use in defining the outlines of objects, the real world is not akin to movie set in which putting a match to one candle lights up an entire room with enough illumination for the full screen close-up. What is practical is purchasing a battery powered lantern (propane camping lanterns not recommended for indoor use).

"Massive power outages can call for massive battery power, which is exactly what the APC BR1500G Back-Up Pro 1500 ($189.99) offers."
Yes, but chargers require charging themselves which requires discipline to maintain them in ADVANCE of power outages. When is the next outage due?

"Although people born before 1990 might not be aware such a device exists, a good, old-fashioned battery-operated radio ($11.95) is a fine item to have around the house in advance of and during a storm."
Huh? Even folks born before 1990 are aware of what was once called "transistor radios" which date back to the 1950s. What is pictured is a "boom box" and requires considerably more battery power.

What is also pictured above and recognizable to people born before 2005 are "books" which require purchasing the alternative energy sources to use them.
Why not mention self-contained e-readers. Waiting for the bottom in pricing these devices. $12 will get you a battery powered clip-on light originally intended for reading in bed at night with the lights out.

Of course, what would be even more useful and less costly than chargers would be the advice to stock up on "batteries" in the most popular sizes.

And here's some additional thought for food: owning propane fueled camping stoves or outdoor grills (even charcoal) provides the flame/heat for cooking, heating water for washing or even boiling water for a cup of coffee.

Of course, these ideas are exportable to venues beside Greenburgh -- while the reverse already exists.
Hal Samis

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