Be prepared: tech for emergencies
September 23, 2005
Heaven forbid you find yourself in the path of a hurricane or in the midst of a major earthquake. If you do, you'll make your chances at safety and comfort much better with the proper preparation. Besides essentials such as extra water and blankets (find a full list at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security Web site), you'll want sturdy technology to help you stay in touch and find your way.
We've rounded up six helpful devices for emergencies, most of which don't even need batteries. The Grundig Emergency AM/FM/Shortwave Radio works on a hand crank, so you can hear emergency reports and call for help anywhere, and you can give the Hummer Shake flashlight a jiggle to keep it glowing. We've also included two different emergency cell chargers: one uses a crank, and the other runs on solar power. Finally, we have two devices that need batteries but are invaluable when charged. The Garmin Quest GPS receiver, which can give you directions whether you're walking or driving and runs for 20 hours on a charge. You can even submerge it in water up to three feet deep. The Kyocera KX444 cell phone is tough and sturdy and can roam on analog band, which is often the only one available in rural places.
Keep in mind that in any emergency, your cell phone is only as good as the network it calls over. In large-scale emergencies such as Hurricane Katrina, most cell networks become overloaded or go down completely. Whatever type of phone you have in this situation, just keep trying until your call goes through. You'll need patience.