I live in a part of the United States that has frequent storms, including tornadoes and occasional tropical storms. If you live in an area such as this, knowing what things to charge before a storm hits can be very helpful.
Before a storm reaches your area, be sure to charge the following items:
- Cell Phones
- Battery banks
- Rechargeable batteries
- Power tool batteries
- Flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns
- Emergency Radios
Having these items fully charged will allow you to communicate and perform other essential tasks for longer. Hopefully, the power that you store will be able to last through the duration of the storm and any power outages that may result from it.
One of the most important items to charge before a storm is your cell phone. They can be used to call for help, track bad weather, and store important information. Most people keep pictures of their loved ones on their phones which can be used to help find them if they become separated.
Cell phones can also be used to store digital copies of important documents such as insurance paperwork and titles/deeds. I like to keep survival apps on my phone that could provide me with valuable information during an emergency. You can learn more about these apps by checking out my other article Best Apps for Preppers and Survival by clicking here.
In addition to charging a cell phone before a power outage, I like to turn on my battery saver mode after it is finished charging. This will help your battery last longer and is always a good idea to do before a storm hits or if you will be hiking or camping.
Laptops are another item that you should charge before a storm. When combined with a cell phone’s hotspot, you should be able to maintain contact with the outside world and be able to do at least some work-related tasks if needed.
One of my favorite uses for a laptop during a power outage or emergency is as an additional battery bank. Laptops with USB ports can be used to charge USB devices, including phones, flashlights, and other types of gear. Because of this, I generally charge my laptop and try to avoid using it during a storm in case I need it’s stored power later on.
If you have battery banks or battery backups, make sure to charge those before a storm. Like a laptop with USB ports, they can be used to recharge many types of devices.
If you have battery banks, it would be a good idea to invest in a set of portable solar panels such as these. They will allow you to recharge your battery banks in case a power outage lasts for an extended period of time.
I prefer to use rechargeable AA and AAA batteries for small electronics, and if you have them, it is a good idea to charge as many as possible before a storm. Rechargeable batteries are a little more expensive, but they can last for a long time.
My favorite brand of rechargeable batteries is Eneloop. I have been using their AA and AAA batteries for around a year and a half and have been very happy with their performance. You can even buy adapters from them that will allow you to use their AA batteries in devices that require C or D cells. You can find an Eneloop starter set by clicking here.
Power Tool Batteries
If you have cordless power tools, be sure to charge their batteries before a storm hits. If your home suffers damage, you will have the ability to make repairs as soon as possible, even if the power is out.
In addition to being able to help with repairs, power tool batteries can also operate equipment such as lights and fans. Some companies even produce power supplies that allow you to charge USB devices such as cell phones from the power stored in your tool batteries.
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Flashlights, Headlamps, and Lanterns
Rechargeable flashlights, headlamps, and lanterns are useful but only if they are charged when you need to use them.
In the case of my EDC light, I try to charge it when the battery is at around 50%. I don’t know how good it is for the battery but it does mean that I will be more likely to have power when I need it.
I have a mixture of both rechargeable lights and those that rely on regular AA, AAA, and D-cell batteries. This allows me to use my rechargeable devices first and save my alkaline batteries as a backup.
Related: Olight Warrior Mini Review
Emergency radios are another item that you should make sure is charged before a storm. It will allow you to remain informed (and entertained) during a power outage or emergency.
When selecting an emergency radio, try to find one that has multiple power sources. The radio pictured above, the Midland ER310, has a lithium-ion battery that can be charged via USB, solar, or with a dynamo hand crank. If the lithium-ion battery goes bad, you can power it with common AA batteries. You can find it by clicking here.
It is still a good idea to charge radios like this before a storm even if they do have backup charging options. The reason for this is backups like small solar panels and hand cranks are really only meant to keep the radio going.
In order to use other features, including charging a cell phone, you really need a fully charged battery to start with. You may be able to provide a small amount of power to other devices with solar or crank but don’t expect a full battery.
Keep Device Chargers withYou
Bad weather and other emergencies can happen with very little notice. Because of this, you may not be at home when you realize that you need to charge your electronics.
Having your device chargers or spares with you when you are at work or traveling is a good idea. I try to keep a spare charging cable and at least one battery bank in my bag that I carry to work. This will, at a minimum, help me keep my cell phone ready to go.
Is It Safe To Charge Devices During a Storm?
It is not safe to charge electronic devices such as cell phones during a storm. This is especially true if it is a storm that produces lightening. Lightening strikes can send a surge of power into the device and ruin it.
Because of this, I recommend charging these devices before a storm hits rather than in the middle of it. Try to make sure that all of your electronics are unplugged as well, including desktop computers and external hard drives.