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  • Writer's pictureShawndra Holmberg, CPO-CD

Build a Power Plan for Your Phone

book cover: 31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters) by Shawndra Holmberg

This Power Plan is from Step #3 (Lines of Communication) of 31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters) - 2nd Edition -

Each of the following sections includes suggested items to have or purchase. You do not have to get all of them at once. Start with adding one item to build your Power Plan now and add more as you can. Remember, the idea is to become better prepared, not best prepared or nothing.

Cellular Power Plan

If you don’t already have a car charger for your phone, get one. If all other power sources are out, you can use your car to charge your phone.

One item you might want for everyday use and for emergencies is a USB adapter that is charge only or data blocking. It is also referred to as a USB condom. Take one with you when you travel so no one can steal your data while you’re charging your electronics in the airport or other public accessed charging station.

Purchase a portable charger (aka external battery, power bank, battery pack, power pack, or external battery) for your cell phone.

You could also purchase a hand-crank charger for your phone, but believe me, you’ll get tired of cranking long before your phone is fully charged. As for a solar-powered charger, save your money at this time and focus on the previous options first.

Conserve power by:

  • closing all apps;

  • shutting off the Wi-Fi;

  • lowering the brightness of the screen;

  • turning off Location Services (under Privacy) or deciding app by app whether you want it to Always, While Using the App, or Never allow location access;

  • turning off the Bluetooth option; and

  • turning off the Cellular Data access for all apps you don’t need.

⏱ Take 15 minutes now to look at the buttons and options on your phone. You may just find something you didn’t know about that will come in handy today or during the next emergency.

Closing all open apps will help, but some apps are still using data, Wi-Fi, and power even when closed. Shutting off the Wi-Fi will help, but some apps will continue to use your Cellular Data. You will need to turn off data access for individual apps.

Closing the open apps will depend on your phone. Search for “force close” on your phone or computer. But in general, Android users will need to go to settings and choose the Applications > Application Manager > Running and stop each application individually. Users of the iPhone 8 or earlier will double click the Home button and then swipe up on each open app. For iPhone X users, you’ll swipe up and pause; then touch and hold an app; then swipe up to close it.

Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Cellular Data options are found in the settings section of your phone. You could also turn the airplane mode on to limit power consumption, but do this if your plan is to make outgoing calls only and you don’t need to receive incoming calls.

Build a Power Plan for Your Phones

VoIP Power Plan

Installing a backup power supply or an uninterruptible power supply (UPS) system can power your VoIP phone as long as the internet is up and all your equipment is on the UPS system — this includes your phone, your router and any other devices required for internet access. But if the internet is down, a backup power supply will not help you communicate.

Standard Landline Power Plan

Buy a basic, no frills Trimline corded phone and sit back and relax. Any electricity needed for a phone call is provided on the telephone wires.

Though I’ve covered a lot of information in this step and suggested many tools and supplies you might need, remember to make this step, Step #3 (Lines of Communication), doable today.

Below is a list of possible items to add to your emergency supplies. Look over the list and add ONE item you don’t already have. I’ve placed them in the order of importance, so start at the top and work your way down over time.

Pick ONE action today:

Grab & Go Checklist is 3 pages of items to pack and actions to prep for evacuation ($2.99)

✅ Get a car charger for your cell phone — keep it in the car.

✅ Buy a Trimline corded phone if you have a landline — place it near your emergency lighting (Step #4) or near the phone outlet.

✅ Get a portable charger that can be recharged via a regular outlet or car charger. Add it to your Grab & Go checklist in Step #10.

Learn Morea about the Grab & Go checklist

Possible Next Actions:

✅ Buy a data blocking USB adaptor aka USB condom — add one to your emergency kit, travel kit, purse, briefcase, and more.

✅ Get an Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) for your VoIP system.


Find out who gets priority access:

book cover: 31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters) by Shawndra Holmberg

This Power Plan is from Step #3 (Lines of Communication) of 31 Small Steps to Organize for Emergencies (and Disasters), 2nd Edition


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