Within the last few years, we’ve witnessed many devastating natural disasters leave a trail of destruction across the world. Whenever I see the aftermath of these catastrophes on the news, I’m always left pondering, “Am I ready for when disaster strikes?”
The most essential component of disaster prep is having the skills and knowhow to deal with whatever arises. And keeping things at the ready like a well-stocked bug out bag filled with gear like water filters, fire starters, and MREs can help you survive as well.
So can technology play any role in natural disaster survival? While it obviously can’t be something you’re completely reliant upon–a lot of technology will be rendered useless in the case of complete catastrophe–it can be a useful supplement to your essential supplies and knowledge.
With that in mind, here are some apps and gadgets that can make preparing for and managing a natural disaster a bit easier. Below we highlight five of them.
Growing up in Oklahoma, I’ve seen my fair share of tornadoes. The scariest part was when the power went out and you no longer had legendary KWTV 9 weatherman Gary England giving you constant updates on the storm from the TV. When we no longer had power, my parents would bring out the emergency battery-powered radio so we could listen to the robot voice from the National Weather Service. It was a simple device, but it got the job done.
Emergency radios sure have come a long way since my childhood. Case-in-point: the Eton Voice Link Radio. It’s a hand-crank-powered AM/FM radio that also acts as a flashlight, cellphone charger, and two-way radio. With this little handheld device, you can turn the rubble that was your house into a natural disaster command center.
Weather Channel Alerts
The best way to survive a natural disaster is to get out of harm’s way if you can. Sign up for the Weather Channel’s Alerts, and they’ll send you an email or text message to warn you about possible tornados, floods, hurricanes, and blizzards, so you can head to safety. A lot of local news channels offer similar alerts as well.
One of the best ways to stay on top of the latest developments during a natural disaster is to listen to local police, fire, and EMS radio frequencies. It used to be that you’d have to buy a special radio scanner so you could tune into these frequencies. Today many emergency service providers actually broadcast their frequencies on the web. The Emergency Radio App helps you to find and listen into the nearest emergency radio frequency right on your iPhone.
The app uses your iPhone’s built-in GPS to find the nearest police, fire, and EMS frequencies. Now, whenever disaster descends on your community, you’ll be among the first to know what’s going on.
Solio Bolt Solar Charger
Today, most of us rely on our cellphones for staying connected. But when you lose power to your home (like say, during a natural disaster), you lose the ability to charge your mobile devices, which means your iPhone will eventually turn into a sleek looking $500 glass doorstop.
To ensure that you constantly have a fully charged cellphone, invest in the Solio Bolt Solar Charger. The Bolt consists of an internal, rechargeable battery that you charge with the power of the sun. Just open the Bolt’s solar panels and let it sit in the sun for a full day to completely recharge the battery. Once the Bolt’s battery is fully charged, you’ll be able to give your smartphone two full recharges. In case you want to play some Angry Birds while you’re waiting for the search and rescue to airlift you off the roof of your house, you can also use the Bolt to charge your Kindle or iPad.