As we learned from Hurricane Sandy, disasters can suddenly transform a contemporary place into a crude one — no roads, no gasoline, no power, no online access without a phone support.
And no place is safe from the possibility of natural disasters. The East Coast and Southeastern coastal regions of the U.S. are vulnerable to flooding and hurricanes. The Midwest has to be worried about tornadoes. Out West, folks need to be worried about earthquakes and fires. In Hawaii and other coastal areas, tsunamis are a danger. Small towns may be cut off from outside help. City residents can be trapped by gridlocked roads.
The real-world consequences of such outages can unexpectedly reveal the dependence of every modern convenience upon others. By way of example, the supermarket may be open, but without net or phone accessibility, its credit card machines won’t operate. (Option: Keep money in your emergency kit).
When you’ve got a generator, you also need gas — and the gasoline pumps will not work in a blackout.
When you have mobile phone service, you need power to charge your phone.
If you are relying on candles through electrical outages, you place yourself at risk of fire. (Many homes burned down in the aftermath of this Sandy disaster.)
And exactly what can you do about all of food in the fridge?
Real preparedness means all of the bases are covered, that you are ready to reside in reasonable comfort and safety with no road access, power, phone service, Internet accessibility and gasoline — all at the exact same time and for many days in a row.
Staying charged and connected is among the biggest concerns when the power goes out. Here are some tech tips and products that can help.
American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Turbine – $60
In a crisis, a wise phone can be a lifeline. Assuming you have data and voice connection, you can call for help, get important infoand get real-time maps — use the phone as a flashlight.
But none of the works if your telephone’s battery is dead.
The very first thing you should do in a crisis is conserve mobile battery power. If you need to have the ability to get calls, shut running apps and flip off location providers (which burn through your batteries in their continuous hunt for satellites).
In case you don’t need to get calls, place your phone into “plane mode,” which turns off all location and wireless providers and doubles or even triples your phone’s battery life; flip away “airplane mode” only as needed.
Charge up in the car. Make sure your emergency kit includes a power recorder, and that means that you may control your cell phone with the car’s cigarette lighter outlet. A car is an under-appreciated part of survival equipment that may supply you with shelter, heat, a radio and power — the engine can also be a generator that charges the car battery and will power your gadgets.
Get a hand-cranked charger. You should also have a means to control your phone with no home or car accessibility. Solar chargers abound, but they are not a good choice for emergencies. For starters, you want the choice to control inside, at night or in poor weather. Solar chargers are finicky about having the panel facing direct sunlight.
A better alternative is a hand-cranked charger, which provides you juice anywhere at any time. Be sure to get one with a built-in radio and flashlight.
The American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Turbine AM/FM NOAA Weather Radio with USB Smartphone Charger and LED Flashlight has a long title, and a much more comprehensive list of features.
One small benefit is that it’s a glow-in-the-dark handle. The device also offers USB charging for your mobile and other gadgets, a radio, a solar panel to augment the hand crank, an LED flashlight and a red flashing emergency beacon.
This one gadget will guarantee that you’ll at least be informed and illuminated, with a charged phone. (Order forward: At this writing, this product is on back order with projected 10-day shipping.)
Motorola Talkabout MT352 – $169.99
Obviously, a fully charged phone is worthless for communicating in the event the wireless carriers are non refundable. Luckily, you can prepare for this, also.
There are 3 standard ways to communicate in a crisis without landline or wireless phone support.
The first is short-range communicating. A cheap option is walkie-talkies. A number of the better models have very long ranges, making them super useful in a crisis.
Walkie-talkies have two advantages in a disaster: They allow numerous people in the area talk to each other, which means you can check on local family members and friends even if the two parties don’t have any mobile service. Secondly, they allow you to link to strangers in the area either looking for help or offering it.
A good option for walkie-talkies is your Motorola Talkabout MT352 because it’s weather-proof, has long battery life, boasts a range of around 35 miles, and comes in a pack of 3. That lets you keep two in the home and give another to somebody from the 35-mile selection.
DeLorme AG-008449-201 inReach for iOS & Android – $249.95
Another option many people don’t know about is that a satellite device that lets you send text messages from the mobile phone even though your phone can’t connect to the net or phone services.
Require the DeLorme inReach for instance. You can use this little gadget without a mobile phone to send SOS messages and broadcast where you are. Or you can link it via Bluetooth for your iOS or Android phone and ship two-way text messages. It’s a satellite device, therefore that it works from absolutely anywhere.
IsatPhone Guru Satellite Phone, and 1000 Prepaid Minutes Service Bundle – $1,425
The most comprehensive and reliable system of communicating, albeit the very costly, is that a full-fledged satellite phone that lets you make calls and surf the Web without having wireless mobile towers.
You can get prepaid accounts, which means you are not paying a monthly invoice when it’s not being used. However, be mindful that most prepaid satellite programs have expiration dates.
One great option is a product named IsatPhone Guru Satellite Phone, and 1000 Prepaid Minutes Service Bundle, which is available on Amazon.com.
As well as the phone and 1,000 prepaid minutes, you get a waterproof carrying case and all of the accessories. The phone itself is resistant to water, shock and freezing, and has great battery life.
Duracell PowerSource 1800 – $899.99
Even in the event that you’ve got your mobile charged and you are ready to work without the carrier or mobile towers, you still need to be concerned about food in the fridge going bad and other regular household electric needs.
As a full-blown gasoline-powered generator is great, you might instead decide on a backup powerpack — a giant battery designed to give you power if you need it.
A good option is your Duracell PowerSource 1800, an indoor backup energy source that will juice your fridge, computer, lights or the sump pump you’ll need to keep the basement from flooding.
By the way, if you hesitate to invest in this equipment because of the price and rarity or unlikelihood of tragedy, think about one more fact. Every one of the products is super useful during traveling and other diversion.
Hope for the best, but always prepare for the worst!
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