As a person who spent approximately 70% of my 9 ½ years in the military doing Naval deployments and having endured the sweltering heat of the Gulf Coast with no electricity or running water following the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan, I’ve come to fully appreciate the importance of morale.
They say, “Hind sight is 20/20”, but when I look back at my situation there were so many things I could’ve done that would’ve dramatically improved our situation. The first thing my wife and I became aware of when we returned to our second floor apartment was the heat. Immediately upon opening the front door was a blast of heat similar to when you first open a hot oven. Of course we opened all the windows and siding glass door to let in some fresh air and wait for the heat to dissipate. With no electricity, fans and air conditioning where just a wish (not to mention most of our resources for entertainment) and as anybody who lived in Florida panhandle will tell you pine trees don’t make breezes! Getting through the day with the heat can be slightly bearable if you keep your mind busy on cleaning up and securing your basic needs. However, the real challenge begins when the sun goes down and its 80 degrees inside your apartment, mosquitos are rampant outside and everybody’s too hot to sleep.
One small setup consisting of three devices would’ve provided my family or anyone for that matter with a minimal amount of power to last through a small emergency and provide some much needed morale:
- Car or R/V battery: This is going to be your main power source. While most r/v batteries have six year shelf life, you won’t be able to access the battery’s power as is. This is where the second device comes in.
- DC-AC power inverter: The wattage you choose should be based on the type of battery you use and the type of electronics you’ll want to power up. For the most part a simple 400-Watt inverter will cover your most basic needs. Simply attach the jumper cable type attachments (some inverters just have wire tips) of the inverter to your battery and you’ll have a constant supply of power. A typical 400-Watt inverter can power fans (which would’ve made my post-Ivan nights feel like heaven), small televisions, recharge laptops (watching DVD’s or checking the internet), cell phones, etc.
- Small solar panel: Brunton has designed a small folding solar panel that is portable and can be connected to your battery. This panel will provide your battery with enough unlimited and free power to keep it going while your devices are draining it.