Tech for winter storm preparedness

As September gives way to October, we enter the heart of hurricane season. We’ve written about organizing your storm supplies before, and today I’ll focus on tech to help you weather a storm. If you haven’t organized your preparedness kit yet, there’s still time.

Stay informed

When a storm hits, it’s important to receive information from authorities. The American Cross ZoneGuard Weather Radio is great for this. It finds and delivers alerts for your area, flashes color-coded warnings and tunes into AM, FM and NOAA digital radio stations. It runs off of AC power or AA batteries.

A good hand-crank radio is also great to have, like this one from Esky. Just 60 seconds of cranking 20 minutes of use. There’s a solar charing option as well, but stormy days aren’t usually very sunny.

Your smartphone

If you own a smartphone, you’ve got a tiny computer that can be tremendously useful in an emergency. When your home’s power goes out, Wi-Fi goes with it. So grab your phone and rely on cell connectivity.

There are several great apps available, including The Red Cross, which offers apps specific to certain disasters, text alerts and first aid information. Of course, none of that matters when your phone’s battery dies. Keep it going with an Eton Boost Turbine. As you may have guessed, it’s a hand-crank charger for your phone and other USB devices. Just plug it in and get cranking.

Of course, don’t forget a good old corded phone. When cell/internet service goes down, or when your your power goes out, a corded landline phone will let you call out.

Shine some light

Finally, I have to identify my favorite flashlight of all time, the Coast HP1 Focusing 190 Lumen LED Flashlight. LED flashlights are brighter than those with traditional bulbs, and the HP1 shines a powerful beam indeed. It takes rechargeable batteries, is water resistant, impact resistant, compact and feels great.

There’s a lot more you should do to prepare for a storm. Today we’ve pointed out a few bits of tech that you can rely on. We hope this was helpful. Be careful out there.

2 Comments for “Tech for winter storm preparedness”

  1. posted by Dorothy on

    I’d like to clarify your recommendation for a corded, land-line phone, which is an excellent idea.

    – You need to have an active land-line.

    – You need the right phone, and by “right”, I mean the cheapest one you can find is usually what you need.

    – It must have an RJ11 cord (the cord that connects the base of the phone to the phone jack on your wall.

    – It must have a cord that connects the base of the phone to the handset. For this purpose you don’t want a cordless handset.

    – It must NOT HAVE an AC converter, that is a cord that connects the phone to an electrical outlet.

    This emergency phone is designed to keep you connected in case the power fails. Your phone company has back-up power in case the commercial power fails; this way you can often make/receive calls even during a power outage. So if your phone has an AC adapter, and the commercial power fails, your phone won’t work.

    You can often buy this sort of phone at a discount store for around $10.

  2. posted by Barry Sullivan on

    The comment about having an old style phone without an ac adapter is good advise. However make sure your phone line provider still serves you via copper wire. You need to have a copper wire connection to be able to take advantage of the phone companies backup power to make your home phone work. Recently my provider (CenturyLink) switched my area from copper wire to fiber optics. This included installing a fiber optic switch to interface with the old copper wire inside my house. So if my area looses power we are down.

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