Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Lesson Learned -- Keep Stocked Up on Batteries

Planning on making one last run to the store before the SHTF? You can cross batteries off your shopping list. They'll be sold out everywhere. 
 
Listening to various news reports as Hurricane Matthew approached the east coast of Florida, one thing struck me as unexpected - how very quickly batteries sold out across the state. I'm not surprised that batteries sold out. I am surprised by how fast they sold out.  According to the reports I heard, batteries sold out almost as quickly as gasoline, and even more quickly than bottled water. 

There will be no last minute stocking up on batteries. Therefore, make sure you have on-hand what you will need, and then some, for an extended period of time. Depending on the situation, it may be weeks, months, or even longer, before stores are able to restock. Also, batteries will likely make a great barter item, if you re willing to part with them.  

Here are a few tips:

1) Make a master list of EVERYTHING you own that requires batteries, and exactly what types of batteries they require. It will probably be a long list. Some possibilities: radios, flashlights, walkies-talkies, GPS units, watches, calculators, smoke alarms, digital cameras, various toys & games, alarm clocks, wall clocks, blood glucose meters, cell phones, lap tops, iPods, iPads, Amazon Kindles, TV remotes, wireless mouse, wireless keypad, electric toothbrush, electric pencil sharper, etc.

2) Go through your master list, and prioritize. Which of these things do you definitely want to use during and post-SHTF? Which could easily you do without? Are there battery operated items that you use now, that you could switch to non-electric types (such as toothbrushes & pencil sharpeners)? You now have a prioritized shopping list to begin stocking up. 

3) If you have rechargeable batteries, how do you plan to recharge them if the electricity goes out, and stays out? Consider portable solar charging stations. There are also several solar powered emergency radios on the market that have USB ports that allow you to recharge cell phones, tablets, and other devices. 

4) The self-life of batteries depends on the type and battery and the storage conditions, and may range from a couple of years to 10 years or more. For example, the AmazonBasics Performance Alkaline Batteries are designed for long-term storage (10 years). According to Amazon, they have "Improved anti-corrosion components and new zinc composition resulting in 10-years anti-leakage shelf life," and utilize "Unique Japanese technology that enables better performance after storage, over-discharge, and high temperatures." I use AmazonBasics myself, and am quite satisfied, though I admittedly haven't done a 10-year test! 

5) According to the Energizer website, you can "practice proper battery storage by keeping batteries in a cool, dry place at normal room temperature. It’s not necessary to store batteries in a refrigerator."

6) Amazon also has a large selection of the button batteries and lithium coin batteries used in watches and some high-end electronics & LED flashlights.

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