No matter how bad the weather looks in New England, I am always thankful that we don’t regularly deal with tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. They scare me a lot more than heavy snow fall. Of course, there are plenty of people who would happily trade in guaranteed snowstorms and icy roads for sunny skies and the rare possibility of another type of weather event. One thing we do have in common, however, is that safety is always a concern. That’s why Radio Shack put together some tips and recommended products for a Weather Preparedness Kit.
I met with Kally Masino from Radio Shack Corporation to learn a bit more about their products, as well as their suggestions for helping your family be prepared in case of an emergency.
Weather Alert Clock Radio with Skywarn – Being Prepared in Advance
The first product on the list is the Weather Alert Clock Radio with Skywarn. This is a dual alarm clock with the ability to warn you in the even of severe weather alerts and warnings in your area. It has a regular AM/FM radio with the ability to store up to five preset stations, and a weather radio that tunes to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) stations so you can get your local weather forecast. The great thing about this radio, however, is that it will warm you visually, and audibly if you choose, of any alerts issued in your area. There are volume settings for day and nighttime alerts, and the radio can be programmed to focus on your specific area code, preventing you from receiving alerts that aren’t relevant. I know that in Massachusetts, you can be in the same county (and our counties aren’t all that big) and have a significantly different weather pattern. Even better, the radio is equipped with the Skywarn system, which can alert you up to 8 minutes early of impending severe weather. I think this device is particularly useful for areas that a prone to tornado activity. Because time is of the essence, and they aren’t predicted as early as a snowstorm, having alert devices could save lives. Retail $79.99.
Icon Rogue 1
When the power goes out, candles aren’t always a practical option. The Icon Rogue 1 is a powerful little flashlight has a great name, cool design and a lot of power. It has a dual intensity, shining as high as 50 lumens, or as low as 6. It runs up to three hours on the high setting and 70 on the low and takes a single AA battery. That’s impressive! It’s also waterproof up to 1 meter (roughly 3 1/4 feet). The Rogue has a sturdy wrist strap and neck strap. Retail: $39.99
Enercell Portable Power for iPod and iPhone and Enercell High Capacity Portable Power
When you’re not expecting an emergency, it’s easy to forget to charge your phone. But if things start to turn more serious, you may need to make calls to book a hotel room, call for help, or let other family members know you’re Ok. The Enercell Portable Power Bank for iPod and iPhone has a built-in connector and can keep your device running for up to six additional hours. The Enercell High-Capacity Portable Power Bank includes cables for mini USB, micro USB and Apple devices. It can keep a device running for up to eight additional hours. That’s plenty of time for you to make necessary arrangements to head to a safer place. Both devices hold a charge long enough that you can charge them twice a year and otherwise forget about them. They are both really easy to use and charge via standard USB input. Retail: $39.99 and $49.99, respectively
Etón American Red Cross BLACKOUT BUDDY
This little guy is my personal favorite. It’s a rechargeable LED flashlight. Keep the Etón American Red Cross BLACKOUT BUDDY plugged into the wall. There is an optional light-detecting nightlight that can help light a path through a dark hall. The best part , though, is that when the power goes out, the BLACKOUT BUDDY flashlight automatically turns on. I tested it out using a power strip and, sure enough, when I turned the power strip off, the BLACKOUT BUDDY turned on. Since it stays plugged in, it’s always charged and you always know where it is. We have ours in the hallway outside of our bedrooms, so if the power goes out, it’s easily accessible to help us get around and find the rest of our kit. The BLACKOUT BUDDY is just $14.99 and when you purchase one, a donation is made to the American Red Cross. Win-win!
Other Kit Items
Kally suggested that you create the kit and check it every six months with the time change to make sure batteries are still good, and to recharge the Enercell Portable Power devices. She also recommended that we include some items to help keep our kids entertained and that started me thinking about other things for your Weather Preparedness Kit. Here are some other tips:
Add some snacks. Choose items with a long shelf life that will be OK in the kit for at least six months. We’re not preparing for the Cold War here, but if for some reason your family needs to evacuate your home or hide in a closet or basement, you’ll be glad to have snacks on hand.
Don’t forget the water. Once again, this isn’t the water supply you might have on hand in case of a major storm. A bottle of water or two for each family member will be appreciated in the event of an emergency that requires you to leave the house quickly.
Make a flash drive with important documents. Flash drives are so inexpensive. If something happens to your home, you’ll be glad to have your documents with you. Even if everything turns out OK, this is worth the peace of mind.
Burn treasured photos to CD or DVD. When I worked with the Red Cross doing flood disaster relief in New Orleans in 1995, one of the things people were most upset about were lost photos. Once a year, burn your pictures to CD/DVD, label them, and place them in a case inside a ziplock bag. This also protects against crashed hard drives and stolen computers!
I’m thankful that I had the chance to chat with Kally about emergency measures and gear to have on hand. Not only is this great information for my family, but I’m thrilled to be able to share it with my readers. Plus, if you’re quick, you may be able to win a Weather Preparedness Kit of your own.
Disclosure: I received a Weather Preparedness Kit for review purposes. There was no promise of a positive review and the opinions contained in this post are my own.