A well-stocked emergency kit is essential for surviving a disaster—but that doesn't mean what goes in a kit never changes. There have been plenty of advances in technology that should prompt a change in the contents of an emergency kit, as with these six items.
If you don't have these in your emergency kit now is the time to get them. With the strongest Atlantic storm in history bearing down on the Caribbean and southern United States you can't be too prepared.
1. A solar charger
Batteries are everywhere in the digital age, and you'll need them to be charged during a natural disaster. Having a backup battery is smart, but even smarter is a solar battery charger.
There are options here, including chargers that don't have a built-in battery (lighter and more portable), or smaller ones that have a battery for continued charging when the sun isn't shining (heavier and less efficient solar panels).
2. An emergency radio
You can't always rely on a smartphone during a natural disaster, but you can rely on radio signals—as long as transmitters can broadcast you can pick up a signal.
SEE: 10 apps to help you prepare for, respond to, and recover from a natural disaster (TechRepublic)
You can even kill several birds with a single stone by packing a crank-powered emergency radio that also has USB charging ports, a solar panel, a flashlight, and an emergency beacon.
3. A solid flashlight
If a multi-use gadget like the above-mentioned crank radio isn't something you want to pack (it is a bit big at 6"x7") you'll still need a flashlight that isn't your smartphone.
For added reliability, get a strong LED one that charges via USB so you can plug it into your crank radio or solar charger.
4. A water filter
There's no telling how long you'll be without a fresh supply of water, and carrying a case of bottles around isn't feasible if you're going to be on the move. You can carry a water filter though, and you have options for what kind you get.
5. A backup phone
If your phone dies in a disaster situation it can be dangerous—especially if you're trapped or need immediate assistance. Be sure you have a charged backup phone that you can rely on in case of emergency.
SEE: Beware these Hurricane Harvey phishing and spam attacks (TechRepublic)
I recommend the Jelly Pro—it's a compact, lightweight Android device that's cheap and easily stored in an emergency kit.
6. Biolite CampStove
You may very well need a survival stove, and you can't do better than the BioLite CampStove 2. It will burn almost any dry organic matter for fuel, and it also has a built-in battery pack that charges by capturing excess heat.
Captured heat powers a fan to increase the power of the stove's flame, and the stove has USB ports to charge devices too. Combine the stove with a crank radio and solar charger and you'll never be without a charged battery.
- 3 factors to consider when choosing a mass notification system (TechRepublic)
- Telstra 4G used in disaster management drone trial (ZDNet)
- Emergency communications for civilians may improve soon, thanks to NICER (TechRepublic)
- Red Cross launches drones off Land Rover SUVs for disaster relief (ZDNet)
- NASA satellite peers at Hurricane Irma's churning eye (CNET)
- Severe weather and emergency policy (Tech Pro Research)
Brandon Vigliarolo has nothing to disclose. He does not hold investments in the technology companies he covers.
Brandon writes about apps and software for TechRepublic. He's an award-winning feature writer who previously worked as an IT professional and served as an MP in the US Army.