What the Tech: Emergency back up systems for technology

(Graphic: What the Tech)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) What do you do when the power goes out?

Around our house no one thinks about whether the food in the refrigerator will spoil or whether we can deal with no heat or air conditioning. Our family, and maybe yours, is concerned with not being able to go online. “DAD! Internet is out!”

Yeah times have changed.

Of course with natural disasters like hurricanes and snow storms there are other things to be concerned about rather than whether you can check Facebook or watch YouTube videos. It’s all related though isn’t it?

In emergencies it’s even more crucial to connect with the internet.

Gadgets can get it done. The right gadgets keep you plugged in and online.

Here are a few ‘must-haves’ for when the power goes out for a few hours or a few days:

  • A portable battery charger. This one doesn’t need to be mentioned because by now most people understand that the first line of defense is making sure your cell phone battery is charged. There are dozens to choose from on Amazon and in stores like Target, Walmart and Best Buy. Select one that will charge a phone 3-5 times. Battery chargers with more than one USB port is good to look for as well.
  • Extra cables. Someone is going to lose theirs. If it’s dark they may not find it until the electricity is back on. Purchase a couple extra lightning chargers (for iPhones) and standard USB and USB-C charging cables and put them away. Resist the temptation to grab one when you’ve simply misplaced the one you use day-to-day. Treat these backup charging cables as a life-line in case of an emergency.
  • Hand-crank weather radio. Eton makes several models that are also solar powered. These weather radios include at least one USB charging ports for phones, a built-in flashlight and the ability to listen to weather reports even when the power is out.
  • Portable car jump-starter. If you haven’t seen these I strongly urge you to look them up. These cellphone sized jump-starters will fit in a car’s glove box and will jump off a dead car battery. They usually have USB ports for phones as well. These devices are generally under $100.
  • A backup power source for internet routers will keep your family connected for a few hours even after the power goes out. These plug into a wall outlet and will power a modem and WiFi router. When the power goes out, the Back-UPS will keep the internet running. Some Back-UPS are powerful enough to keep the internet and a computer going for several hours.

All of these gadgets are available online and in stores for under $100 and are essential devices and gear for when the lights go out.

Links: APC Back-UP

Portable Car Jump Starter

MophIe Battery Case