A battery-powered radio is the most reliable way to find out what’s happening in a disaster, so extra batteries are a must.
A self-powered radio that you run by turning a hand crank is another communication solution. Some even come with lights and a cell phone charger. A self-powered radio with the NOAA (National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration) weather channel, in addition to other features, is an excellent choice. Emergency alert weather radios provide you with immediate information about life-threatening weather related events. You can find these types of emergency radios at most local hardware stores. They range in price from around $20 to over $100 depending on the features they offer.
BEWARE: Self-powered electronics may interfere with pacemakers:
Former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop identified a potential concern for self-powered devices requiring a hand crank to produce energy for their operation. The process of turning the hand crank may produce electromagnetic fields that have the potential to disrupt a pacemaker. Please be aware of this risk. Do not hold the device in front of your body and/or immediately next to your chest while turning the hand crank. If possible, have someone without a pacemaker operate the device.
Flashlights and Candles
You will need a few flashlights, candles, matches and lighters. Most flashlights need batteries, but some are self-powered by using a hand crack, levers or shaking to generate enough power to emit light. Look for sturdy flashlights that cast a decent light. At about $20 a piece, you should consider one of each.
You can easily find white, no-drip, unscented utility candles that do the job at discount stores like Marshall’s, T.J. Maxx, etc. Check the packaging for the average burn time.
You will need holders to safety use your candles. Keep them away from drapes and other flammable items.
Make sure candles can’t tip over to avoid causing unwanted fires, painful hot wax burns and NEVER leave burning candles unattended.
Tea candles are okay, but they don’t last very long. (“Emergency candles are more expensive than they need to be.)
If you have young children in diapers or on formula, be sure you don’t allow your resources to dwindle below a three or four day supply. Ever!
If you have animals, you don’t want to discover you’re out of pet food the day disaster strikes. Don’t wait until you get down to the dregs before resupplying. Always have at least a three or four day reserve available. A plastic zip-type storage bag should do in most cases, depending on the size of your pet.
Just as you would do with prescription drugs for humans, continually replace the stored supply when a new purchase is made. This will ensure the reserve is never older than the period of time it takes your pet to consume it.
For obvious reasons you need to be sure you have enough toilet paper, bleach, soap, and feminine hygiene products (pads/tampons) tucked away as part of your emergency supplies. Include a supply of small garbage bags to contain refuse until it can be properly disposed.
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