There is going to come a time in all of our lives when the lights go out. The how's and why's of this could amount of a wide array of reasons and explanations, but suffice to say power outages happen be it due to severe weather or zombie apocalypses. Being prepared to handle such outages, be they long term or short, will go a long way towards preserving your sanity. Even if it is just to maintain access to the simple things, such as a source of music or entertainment, to get you through until power is restored, having a way to re-charge items is quite useful.
One such way to keep your electronic devices going in the absence of power is a portable power bank. These come in different shapes and sizes but have one thing in common: they hold a good bit of juice. The device used by my family is an Anker. It charges a variety of items including smart phones, MP3 players, and even iPads. It holds enough power to charge a cell phone three or four times over to give you an idea of how long it lasts. It has come in handy not only in power outages but on long trips when access to traditional charging options have been limited.
The Anker is great for small jobs, but if you want to step it up, more powerful units are available. While at Best Buy recently, I noticed larger charging stations and battery back-ups. The prices may be larger but so are the capabilities. They offer a series of electrical outlets into which you can plug devices and promise around an hour of power for every 24-hour charge (these figures will vary between devices, of course). Some are actually Energy Star Certified and offer Equipment Protection Policies should something go wrong with your device or the items powered by it.
These power banks are no substitute for actual electricity but can help you through times when power is scarce. We all know luxuries such as cell phones will not work in a widespread outage no matter how charged they may be, but if you have a need to charge medical equipment, a power bank at the ready could be a viable solution to keep that equipment functioning at least temporarily. In a long term powerless scenario, these devices will not save you, but they can sustain you in the short term, and the short term may be all you need to get through a natural disaster or to complete an evacuation maneuver. Each situation is sure to be unique and it is up to you if you wish to take charge with a power station. As always, keep in mind that a power bank, like all other survival supplies, will need to be purchased in advance of a disaster; big box stores and online retailers will be inaccessible to you post-disaster, so you will need plan ahead to be self-reliant.