5 Ways to Communicate When the Power is Down

Keep the Lines of Communication

Open Even When the Grid Is Down

Our communication system is largely tied to the grid. That means that if the power goes down, you’ll find yourself cut off. Cut off from the news. Cut off from friends and family. Cut off from information.

And that could be deadly.

Not having radio or TV could leave you without news of what’s happening … information that could be critical to your survival during the aftermath of a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or power grid collapse.

No phone and no Internet access make it hard to connect and regroup with your loved ones, a particularly terrifying scenario.

But with a little preparation, you can make sure that you have access to information and the ability to connect with your family. Even if the power is completely down.


A Cell Phone: Your First Line of Defense

A smart phone is a great thing to have during a power outage. It’s especially useful during the first hours after the power goes down.

With a charged-up battery, the average smart phone will continue to operate for several hours. Cell phone towers need power, but most have back-up power system. In the first hours of a crisis, cell phone networks usually stay up. So, your smart phone can keep you connected.

A phone with Internet access and texting is your best bet. It gives you multiple ways to communicate with others. Call volume during a widespread emergency is very high, so you may not be able to connect through a phone call. But text messages and email use fewer resources. They give you a better chance of getting through to whomever you’re trying to reach.

Keep in mind that your phone’s battery life is finite. Without a working outlet to plug it into, its term of usefulness is limited. Unless you have a solar charger. You can pick up a solar charger designed for small electronics like smart phones for under $30 bucks on Amazon.

With a solar charger, as long as there is sunlight and as long as cell phone towers continue functioning, you’ll still have a means of communication.

A Cell Phone Connection

Without a Cell Phone Tower

Even if cell phone towers go down, that doesn’t mean that your cell phone has to become useless. A new bit of technology can keep it working even if the towers fail. It’s called goTenna, and it’s scheduled to hit markets this winter.

With goTenna, you can continue to send text messages and GPS information. It works with your smart phone and blue tooth wireless to set up communication with other smart phones using a shared goTenna. That means you and your family can use your cell phones to communicate over a distance, no cell towers needed.

With a small solar charger for your phone and your goTenna, this system can work indefinitely. Plus, it’s completely secure — anyone who is not on your network cannot listen in. That includes the NSA.

The goTenna will sell in sets of two for $150.

A Standard Land Line Can Be a Life Saver

Older model landline phones don’t need power to work. It’s a good idea to keep at least one of these dinosaurs in the house. Just plug it into the phone jack, and then you can dial out. No electricity needed.

One important preparedness step that you should take today is to put together an old-fashioned contact book. Smart phones are wonderful for keeping and organizing phone numbers. But if your smart phone dies and your landline is the only way to call out — say to contact a friend about going to stay with them during the duration of the outage — how will you call them if you don’t know and can’t access their number?

Communication Via Elbow Grease

During a power outage — or any major emergency — you need up-to-date information on what’s happening. Radio announcements can warn you of local danger. Or provide evacuation information. Or give you instructions for dealing with the situation that you’re in.

A crank radio is a smart purchase. With one of these, you can keep the information flowing even when the power is not. All it takes is a little elbow grease to charge up the radio, and then you can tune into local news broadcasts.

One Item That’s Not in Your

Prepper Kit That Should Be

Keep a cable on hand that you can use to connect your computer directly to the Internet. Just because power is out, doesn’t mean the Internet is down. Wireless routers won’t work, but if you connect a laptop directly to your Internet jack, you might discover you have Internet access.

That means access to news, email, and social media. Use them all to help you stay abreast of what is happening and to help you connect and coordinate with friends and family.

Living in the technology age makes us more dependent on the power grid than ever. But it also gives us some creative options for staying in touch and in the know during an emergency … even if the usual means of communication are down. Take advantage of these creative solutions and put together a back-up communication plan. It could make all the difference when it comes to surviving a power grid collapse.