A few thoughts on what helped us during the Storm of 2006.
- Our Smartphones were (and continue to be) critical. We could get our work and personal email, text to check on friends, make calls, and get online. They're still serving as our Internet connection for our PCs until we get our broadband back up. Having the right cables was important as was having a way to charge the phones. (They charge from our laptops, so that was pretty easy; I need to get a way to easily charge them in the car too.)
- Getting hotel reservation early was important. The W had filled up by noon or so; friends had a hard time finding any hotels in the area for days. Using an out-of-town friend with a net connection made the process a lot easier than us calling around. (The voice activated Internet!)
- Having gas in the car was essential. Fortunately, I had filled up the car the night before. Virtually all of the gas stations nearby were useless without power to pump the gas; the few that found a way to open had huge lines. Getting around was a slow process given the downed trees, so having gas was important. I used to be good about keeping half a tank at all times; need to get back into that habit.
- Flashlights and battery powered radios were handy. Even in the daytime, our house is dark thanks to the trees. Packing in the dark would have been no fun. The radio helped us understand the severity of the situation and convinced us to get a hotel room soon since so many people were out of power. It's also kind of lonely cut off from the world, so the radio was a welcome window.
We opted not to stick it out at home, preferring light and heat. I'm sure if had stayed home, this list would have had more stuff like firewood, outdoor cook stove, etc. In other emergencies, staying at home would have been more appropriate or even necessary. But, we figured why suffer? We wound up having a good time in downtown Seattle and were very comfortable to boot.