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Technology to have in a power outage

On Thursday September 9th, 2011 a large portion of Southern California, Arizona and Mexico were affected by a massive blackout that lasted more than 12 hours. Since the outage happened later in the day many people's cell phone batteries (including my work iPhone) were at a low point. Since cell phone towers were also affected all data communications were out and I had spotty coverage on both my iPhone and Windows Phone. I had two fully charged laptops and backup batteries for my cell phones so I was set just in case.

My VoIP phone line is protected via battery backup (18 hours) so I could make calls on my corded phone. However, I mainly use a cordless phone downstairs so that phone was rendered useless. Before dark I gathered several candles and my emergency radio. I don't remember where I got this radio but I've had it for years, it has a hand crank, is solar powered and runs on two AA batteries just in case I don't feel like messing with the crank or don't have sun. I was able to listen to local radio news broadcasts and my favorite AM/FM stations the entire evening. After hearing reports of all the traffic accidents we decided to use up the remaining perishable food in the refrigerator.  We made sandwiches and and ate over candlelight while listening to the radio. It reminded me of how people used to be entertained 70 or 80 years ago (before TV became popular). Many of my neighbors had noisy generators running but I thought it was kind of cool to just listen to the radio and enjoy my family's company without the beeps and burps of modern technology.

Interesting side note: I found out later that my Mother-In-Law had been trying to call our cell (iPhone 4, Windows Phone and iPhone 3Gs) to no avail, she does not have a smart phone and lives in the same area and her old flip phone worked just fine.

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