Web Culture

Top 10 Activities To Do When There’s A Power Outage

Paul Coffman 30-09-2009

Top 10 Activities To Do When There's A Power Outage pwrstrpAs a technology addict, when the power is out and electrons quit flowing, my world can lock up pretty quickly. Thanks to batteries, a short power outage goes unnoticed. However, if you live in an area beleaguered with storms, multiple car-into-a-pole vehicle accidents, or poor electrical service, you may often see a longer term power outage.


The first thing that happens when the power goes out is that the food in the refrigerator begins to thaw. The second thing is that the house begins to heat up (or get cold, depending upon where and when). These two things mean very little. Somewhere within driving range the power is on and food is available. As long as the car starts, heat or air conditioning is nearby.

During a long term power outage, you milk every electron for all it’s worth. You keep working on your computer, draining the battery, certain the power company workers will flip the right switch and you’ll be saved. As luck has it, you get the ‘Critical Battery Level’ warning and you curse the weather or the power company, or both. Oh well, your smart phone still has plenty of juice. Another hour playing with ring tones, free pre-loaded games, and sending emails, and you notice the dreaded red-rimmed battery indicator. You look for your charger only to realize the power is still off, and it will do you no good.

Before you end up on the verge of a nervous breakdown and you are found by the rescue squad cowering and crying in a corner with a flashlight in your hand, flicking it on and off; take heart. There is a world out there that is not hard wired to electricity. Here are the top ten power outage activities you can do to maintain your sanity.

    1. Take a walk, bike ride, or exercise at your desk. Your neck, back, and posture will be surprised, but will thank you. A power outage is probably a sign telling you to get off your chair and out into the open. One of my favorite wellness websites, WebMD has a great article discussing various office exercises you can do. Just be careful doing these in the dark.
    2. Take a nap. Your brain needs a break. If you are at home, no one will care. If you are at work, the boss won’t be able to see you in the dark. Just don’t snore.
    3. Play a game of solitaire with REAL cards. Dogmelon has a list of about fifty variations on solitaire, complete with rules and graphical explanations.

power outage activities

    1. Socialize. The computers may not work but phone lines do. Pick up the phone and call a loved one.
    2. Read a REAL book. Candles or flashlights can aid this effort. And contrary to popular belief, you won’t do permanent damage to your eyes.
    3. Raid the refrigerator. The food might go bad. Use it or lose it! How long can food last? Find out at the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
    4. Sit by a window and write a letter. It’s like an email only you use a PEN or PENCIL and PAPER and it’s a bit more formal. Someone may appreciate it.
    5. Make a shopping list. Do a stock-check around the house. Let’s see, batteries, flashlight, a deck of cards, a board game or two, candles, pencil, paper, more food…
    6. Drive to the nearest home improvement center that has electricity. Buy a generator. Check out this Honda power equipment website before the power is off to help determine the size you might need.

power outage activities

    1. Grab a pencil and paper and get in your car for a mini-expedition. Map out Wi-Fi hot spots outside your local area where the power might be on when yours is off. (You might also want to learn how to find free Wi-Fi hotspots near you How to Find Free Wi-Fi Hotspots Near You When you need to find free Wi-Fi near you, turn to these apps and services to help you get internet access anywhere. Read More .) When the power comes back on check out Zeemaps, a free online mapping service that makes use of Google Maps. A simple email/password registration allows you to save and share your maps.

cool power outage activities

What is unique about Zeemaps is that you can upload your CSV files and map them. If you want to map customers, suppliers, friends, or WiFi spots this site can do it simply by uploading the CSV file with the address. Of course, you can manually locate markers as well, or use GPS coordinates.

map power outage map


So get busy creating a list of your WiFi spots and mapping them before the power goes out again. You can color code markers or use special icons – basic hot spots get a green marker, ones that also have plenty of electrical outlets available get a yellow marker and hot spots with outlets, real books, java, and board games get a red marker!

Top 10 Activities To Do When There's A Power Outage zee2

Keep in mind that power outages can damage your computer. Be sure to back up your data beforehand and invest in a good Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS). Here are the best UPS units you can buy The 6 Best UPS Units You Can Buy Right Now An uninterruptible power supply is key for emergency backup power at home. Here are the best UPS units available today. Read More .

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  1. Ayishka Hariparsad
    November 20, 2017 at 5:08 pm


    Currently reading A brand new friend by Mike Gayle

  2. Gabrielle
    September 13, 2017 at 6:53 pm

    this was boring 1/10 don't waste your time

  3. Sam
    March 8, 2017 at 6:48 pm

    I think the website is broken.

  4. Me
    February 21, 2017 at 5:06 am

    I had no fun reading this

  5. Yup
    December 19, 2016 at 6:10 pm

    Another good one is, if your local library still has power, go there. Take your chargers and re-juice before heading back home. Most of them have power outlets for laptops, that work just as well for cell phones.

  6. jhin
    October 7, 2016 at 3:58 am

    worst article ever you cuck

  7. TheRestlessMouse
    October 5, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    If you have Fios phone service, the land telephone won't work after an hour or so.

    When we have a power outage, we get out the battery-operated lantern and play board games. I guess if the batteries run out at night we can dig out "Green Ghost" if we still have all the pieces. They should make glow-in-the-dark playing cards for these occasions.

  8. thenonhacker
    October 1, 2009 at 11:51 pm

    I know of one activity to do where there's a power outage.

  9. Alyssa Myers
    September 30, 2009 at 11:16 pm

    Yeah, this is a perfect time to squeeze a nap in!

  10. Jeffro
    September 30, 2009 at 9:39 am

    This post serves as a great reminder that although digital workers increasingly depend on electrons, you can still be productive when the flow stops. As for myself, I tend to read WIRED magazine or just doze off to sleep.