FIRST, DECIDE WHAT IS CRITICAL TO YOU
Planning for a power failure is a little different than planning to live off grid for extended periods of time. A power failure is expected to be a temporary activity, but in some parts of the country, temporary means weeks, while in others, temporary means just a few hours. You need to plan your power failure strategy in part based on what has happened in the past, but only in part.
For example, in the Northeast, ice storms regularly damage the electrical infrastructure and thus many homes have generators capable of running their entire home on generator power for up to a week. On the West Coast, power failures are relatively rare, and thus most people don’t really plan for them. If you live in an area relatively free of power failures, you should plan for a reduced backup system, and it’s a mistake to not plan for any system at all. Everyone needs at least a rudimentary way to provide backup power.
In deciding what’s critical for you to power during a power failure, look around your home. Make a list of essential devices that you need to have power for. Consider the importance of communications; a recent East Coast power failure that lasted three days had many residents unable to charge even a simple cell phone.
Some store owners who still had power were running extension cords with power strips outside their stores, and residents were almost fighting each other for a chance to charge their phones. Charging something as trivial as a cell phone should not be difficult, folks!