In case anyone is interested, the power is back on at my winter home in Florida following Hurricane Irma. Even better, the air conditioning is now working! (Hooray!)
The power was out for 6 days in my neighborhood. Cable television and Internet access started working as soon as the power was restored. We had no water for two days. My neighbors tell me the (wired) telephone service still doesn’t work but cellular phones have worked more or less perfectly during the entire time. (I don’t have a wired telephone so I don’t miss it.) I have been using my cellular phone’s data capabilities to access the Internet and to send and receive email during the time I have been here.
The damage to my house was minor. Everything was repaired within a couple of hours after spending about $20. Some of my neighbors were not so lucky.
One bit of advice: If you depend upon a cellular phone for use when wired phones are out of service, make sure you have a good method of charging the cell phone MULTIPLE TIMES, if needed. You can purchase any number of batteries that will recharge cell phones but my preferred method is to have a power cable that connects the cell phone to the power outlet in your automobile’s dashboard. You can charge a cell phone several times with an automobile battery without depleting the automobile battery.
One caveat: make sure your dashboard power outlet will work even when the engine is switched off. Most automobiles will do that or else they have a powered USB connector someplace designed to plug in a cell phone or an iPod. However, there are a few exceptions. I suggest you verify your automobile’s power availability long BEFORE you have an emergency.
Of course, here is my “secret weapon” for charging cell phones, blowing up tires, starting automobiles that have a dead battery, blowing up beach balls, and a number of other uses:
Notice the two USB connectors near the bottom left of the device. They will charge cell phones, iPads, iPods, or anything else that is charged by USB. The battery in this thing will charge a cell phone dozens of times plus the “portable power” unit has many other uses as well. I strongly recommend one of these and suggest you keep it charged at all times. You can buy them from a number of manufacturers.