I have been a lurker for years. I do not post as I do not have the expertise the rest of you have. I have learned so much from this site and enjoy it tremendously. Glad to be able to contribute on the subject of being prepared.
1. Lets start easy….a basic need is the non electric can opener!
2. For cooking surface similar to stove top consider a Butane burner stove. They are found in the camping department and on the web. It will give you 1-2 burner surfaces. This is safer than the opened uncontrollable flame of sterno.
3. A French press will help those folks that need that cup of coffee. No electricity needed for the French press, just hot water. The butane burner will come in handy to use for boiling water.
4. For those who enjoy the TV. Be aware that the digital TV’s use mostly lithium batteries that only last about 2 hours. (The analogs used to last about 12 hours and ran on 4 AA….oh well….) To recharge during a storm would be a challenge for most (unless you are lucky enough to have a whole house generator!). Better to get the digital TVs available that operate with AA batteries. (10 of them). They too only last 2 hours, but you will have the ability to replace batteries if you want to.
5. Another idea is the battery operated fan. O2cool makes a great 10 inch that is powerful and runs on 8 D batteries.
6. Another thought is the solar shower. 5 gallon solar shower made by Coleman and others (sold on Amazon). It uses the sun to heat the water so those showers are not so uncomfortable after a power outage. Not everyone likes a cold shower, even when there is no AC!
7. For good non generator power, check out the xantrex power pack that is recharged with a solar panel. We have 2 packs and 1 solar panel. It was a great help during outages with Francis 04, Jeanne 04, and Wilma 05. http://www.xantrex.com/power-products/backup-power/xpower-powerpack-1500.aspx
8. Last but not least, a block of ice stays cold much longer than cubes. Use plastic juice bottles, like ocean spray, filled almost to the top with water (don’t overfill as frozen water expands). This will create a block of ice and is very effective at keeping things colder in the freezer or cooler chest.
9. But wait there is one more idea; invest in coolers that will keep your items cold for 5-10 days. Icy tech coolers can do this for up to 10 days.
Always a good idea to be prepared and hope you never need to use these things!!