Tech Blog

Disaster Tech

by Retired Blogger on ‎04-28-2011 12:20 PM

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Like many of you, I've been watching the events in Japan continue to unfold, and perhaps thinking to myself, "I'm glad something that devastating didn't happen here".
 
But what if it did, would you be prepared? I like to think that I am, but sadly, I'm probably not.
 
Yes, I have a first aid kit, and I've got some camping supplies, but it's not organized nor is it handy. And it's likely not enough, which is why the Canadian Red Cross created these handy plans.
 
Getting Prepared 
The Canadian Red Cross has this excellent resource for building and maintaining an Emergency Preparedness Kit listing what you need to survive for 72 hours or more.

 

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Ok, step one is taken care of...or is it.
 
In my case, I've got pets so I need to extend my kit and plans a bit with this Emergency Pet Plan & Kit 

 

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Now I'm set, except for some of the tech. Usually tech is the last thing you want in your kit; it requires power, isn't easy to fix when it breaks, and doesn't fare well when wet. Yet there are some exceptions.
 
Gearing up 
These plans and kits all call for a battery or hand-crank flashlight and radio. And I've found one that suits my needs perfectly.

 

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The Etón FR160 self-powered safety radio uses hand crank or solar power to re-charge the internal nickel metal-hydride battery and features AM/FM radio and Environmental Canada weather band channels to provide emergency weather information/public alerts. In addition, the FR160 has an integrated LED flashlight, 3.5 mm headphone output and a USB port for charging cell phones.

 

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The unit is small, lightweight, and won't take up valuable space in any emergency kit.
 
Of course, I tried it out, and yes, it does work well. Radio reception was fine, and the crank, while a bit noisy, did charge well.
 
And as a bonus, Etón Corporation contributes a portion of every Canadian Red Cross branded unit sold to support the mission of the Canadian Red Cross.
 
If you're looking for more information on the FR160, you can check out the manual here (pdf).
 
And yes, this will find a home in my soon-to-be-complete emergency kit.
 
But I'm sure you've got some tech-thoughts on additions to my kit -- what tech would you pack in your kit?
 

Comments
by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-28-2011 06:36 PM

I love my electronic creature comforts.  One of my fav recommendations are one of these power packs.  I use it occassionally to jumped my cars when the car batteries are marginally weak.

When not jump starting cars, it sits quietly at a corner of the house.  When a power outage occurs, it comes with a little flash light thats good for 30hrs.  There's also a cigarette plug-in to run small accessories.  Some models will come with a built-in radio for hours of coverage to know the where emergency crews are focussing their efforts.  If the flashlight is not bright enough, it comes with an inverter so I can plug in a table lamp.  I don't believe in using candles anymore.  There's too many accidental fires when the candle gets knocked over, CO2 emissions, or the dangers when the candle burns to the bottom and the molton wax goes unchecked.

 

These devices come in various sizes (they can even power a fridge) and some are designed to work with solar panels.  Note the inverter gives out a SQUARE wave and not a clean SINE wave.  Some electronics will hum or may be damaged with excessive use.

 

With regards to disasters.....

 

The West Coast of Canada was part of the Cascadia quake that sent a Tsunami to Japan 300 yrs ago.  Some experts say it due to come back soon.

  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1700_Cascadia_earthquake

 

Disasters come in many forms.... (heavy snowfall, strong winds, extreme cold, a forest fire, floods).  Your community basically be disabled for several hours to several days.  Being prepared is being smart.

by Retired Blogger on ‎04-29-2011 08:01 AM

@XL: Great suggestion! I've been looking for power solutions for my new (last year) trailer and something like this could work. Also looking at solar panels to top up the batteries when parked.. a whole new learning curve!

 

 

by Exalted Expert / Community Ambassador on ‎04-30-2011 09:16 PM

Do a Google search for the "Xantrex 1500".... it's got a much bigger battery for extended use.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TB6nKT46Slg

 

Power pack batteries do wear out over time.  For my powerboxes.....  After 6 years, I notice it gets harder and harder to jump start a dead battery on a cold morning.  While I get a bigger one, the older gets taken out of the trunk and kept in the home as a emergency light.

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