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Charge up those gadgets

Electronic gadgets don't go well with water or storms. So what do you do when a hurricane comes pounding at your door?

"Unplug your electronics so as not to be affected by any potential power surges," said Joe Durkin, spokesman for Bright House Networks.

But what if your television and phone remain the only forms of entertainment while you wait out the storm? Or, worse, you need to call someone to rescue you from rising water?

Land lines with cords — good old phones that plug into the wall — are more resilient than fancy wireless toys, experts say. Those phone lines may function when cell towers are out of commission and power outages render cordless phones useless.

But if you are among the growing number of customers who have kissed their traditional phones goodbye, you can still survive. Here are a few tips from Verizon Wireless:

• Keep your batteries fully charged.

• Have additional charged batteries and car-charger adapters.

• Keep your phones, batteries and chargers dry.

• Program a list of emergency numbers.

• If you are evacuating, forward calls from your home phone to your cell phone.

• Conserve. Limit non-emergency voice calls. Send brief text messages instead.

• Check weather reports through your cell phone.

If you rely on TV or a computer for weather information, you may want to have a generator or backup power, said Jim Barry, spokesman for the Consumer Electronics Association.

Those not prepared to take that major and costly step can still protect favorite gizmos while possibly staying connected with the outside world. The first step is to buy surge protectors, experts say. You may also want to invest in emergency battery-operated television or an NOAA radio, or good old windup radios.

The most important precaution is saving your precious work, photos or videos, experts say.

"Have everything backed up so you don't lose stuff in case of a big crash," Barry said.

Charge up those gadgets 05/16/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 16, 2012 11:54am]
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© 2017 Tampa Bay Times


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