I've been reading blogs that comment on the recent St. Louis power outages, posts from bloggers such as Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground and Dennis Kennedy (Please send electricity). "We're now on day 5 (or day 4, I guess, depending on how you count) without electricity in St. Louis after the freak thunderstorm last week."
Do you have a plan? A simple one for a day or two? A more complex one? I can tell you the story about a Florida law firm that in advance of Hurricane Ivan did this ... covered servers with a plastic bag in case of water damage, then came back after the storm and found that the roof had caved in and destroyed them all.
For folks in St. Louis, I am sure they thought that a thunderstorm would not render the city helpless. For others planning is a two or three day matter if Hurricane warnings go up.
Most have plans, but do you have at least a basic fall back plan when the power is out for a day or two? It's a pain the ass to deal with, and it's worse when it comes upon you with little warning. I went through it once, and vowed to limit the pain when it came around again.
Get a Generator: I have a generator, a Honda XP4400E that costs about $400. It can take care of the house and essential items like a fridge. It costs less than two nights at the Ritz Carlton, where we stayed during a past, city wide outage.
My tailgating generator also is a backup for home or work, a Honda EU1000i (used). I keep a five gallon gas can in storage as well. The total cost for the two generators was less than $1,500. To me the XP4400E ($400) was a no brainer.
Expecting a power outage I bought matchlight charcoal (20 pounds of it) and an extra propane tank. Total cost is under $50 for both. I've had to resort to one or the other just a handful of times, once when an unprepared neighbor came over asking for the extra propane.
Are you prepared for even a a two day power outage?