Hurricane season inspires need for gadgets, emergency supplies

Hurricane season inspires need for gadgets, emergency supplies

Florida old-timers may recall how it used to be after hurricanes struck. It might have meant candles, lots of sweat­ing and a virtual news blackout. Well, except for tinny little transistor radios.

That was then. …

Now. …

Science and technology march on and thanks to Google searches Florida Weekly found nifty devices that will help you get through the dark times after the next hurricane.

Google sure as heck wasn’t around when Hurricane Donna slammed into Southwest Florida in 1960.

Neither were the high-tech gizmos Florida Weekly’s Google search uncov­ered on the internet, which also wasn’t around in 1960.

Clean H2O

Clean water is the most essential need for all humans. If a hurricane knocks out water systems and stocks of bottled water dwindle what can one do for more water?

Fortunately, science has found ways. Florida Weekly found helpful devices with a Google search.

For example, there is something called an Etekcity Portable Water Filtration Device. In May it could be purchased for $18.99 through Amazon Prime.

Preparedness is critical before hur­ricanes.

One way to prepare is stocking up on clean water. Our Google search found a product on Amazon called Datrex Emergency Water Pouches for disas­ter or survival. They come in pouches and the price range is $10.20 to $89.99, depending on quantity.

Finally, here is this tip from weather.gov under the category Food and Water Safety During Hurricanes, Power Out­ages, And Floods:

“Freeze containers of water for ice to help keep food cold in the freez­er, refrigerator, or coolers in case the power goes out. If your normal water supply is contaminated or unavailable, the melting ice will also supply drinking water.”

This Isn’t A Crank Idea

Hand-cranked radios might sound like something from the early days of automobiles when one needed a crank starter.

But a quick Google search shows hand-cranked radios can be useful dur­ing and after hurricanes.

Florida Weekly found on the Red Cross website something described as an “emergency radio with weather alert and smart phone charger. It can charge smartphones with via USB and includes an emergency LED flashlight.

The listed price is $39.99.

Sharper Image offers an emergency solar hand crank radio for $89.99. The Sharper Image website notes that the device never needs batteries and runs on solar power.

A company called Epica offers a digi­tal emergency solar hand-cranked radio for $21.95. The listed Amazon Prime price in mid-May was $21.95.

Let There Be Light

It’s bad enough with no air condi­tioning but when you’re stuck in a hot-house without electric lights the heat feels worse.

But there are numerous products out there to help light the darkness. This includes lanterns and flashlights.

Florida Weekly found the Etekcity 2-Pack Portable LED Camping Flash­light.

It requires six AA batteries and the Amazon Prime price range in mid- May was $13.59 to $19.99.

The AYL Starlight battery was listed then at $20.99.

The choice of flashlights is enormous.

Here are two that might work for some stuck in a post-hurricane blackout:

• The J5 tactical V1-Pro flashlight was listed on Amazon Prime at $11.95.

• The MagLite Mini incandescent flashlight sported a $9.99 Amazon Prime price in mid-May.

Power

Generators can be wonderful gadgets to have when power is knocked out by a hurricane. The Red Cross on its website, redcross.org, offers advice on choosing a generator and the safe use of generators.

The Red Cross makes these four points about choosing the right generator:

1. What size? “Add up the power requirements of the appliances and devic­es you will want to use. (Check the back and sides for a label with this info.)

2. “Add up the wattage of all the light bulbs you will want to use.”

3. “Find the total amps you need by dividing watts by volts.”

4. “Choose a generator that produces more amps than you need.”

Finally, safe use of generators is criti­cal. The Red Cross offers more safety tips than we have room for here but the organization points out the “primary haz­ard” from generators is carbon monoxide poisoning. There are also the possibilities of electric shock, electrocution and fire.”

Disposable Grills

Many people likely recall what was it like last September in the wake of Hur­ricane Irma. With no power it wasn’t possible to cook so people ate what they could out of boxes and cans until the power returned and they could grill up some chicken or do something as simple as boil water.

Well, disposable grills can help pro­vide some comfort food in the wake of the next hurricane. Numerous brands and prices are available.

On Wal-Mart’s website, for example, Florida Weekly found a Rankem Instant Grill for $12.01 and a Grill-It-Kit one for $6.15.

The Target website offered in mid-May a Kingsford portable grill for $19.95.

Protecting Your Communications Devices

Many people have likely dropped cellphones into sinks that are filled with water. That is not a good thing.

Imagine what could happen to cell­phones or tablets or laptops during hurricanes.

A company called DryCASE: Water­proof Cases and Accessories offer help­ful products.

A review of the company’s website finds that it offers products to protect all sorts of devices. A Smartphone case, for example, can be purchased from the company for $39.99.

More information is available at www.drycase.com.

Knowledge Is Power

When Hurricane Donna slammed into Florida in 1960, information wasn’t as readily available as it is now. Even when Hurricane Charley barreled into Southwest Florida in 2004 the informa­tion network was different than it is now.

There were no cellphones in 1960 and there weren’t any phone apps in 2004. The first phone apps didn’t come out until 2008.

Now, 10 years later, more information about hurricanes and their paths and power can be found on cell phones.

There are many excellent apps that can be helpful.

Here are some organizations offer­ing apps residents and visitors may find useful when the next hurricane approaches and after it leaves:

• Red Cross.

• NOAA.

• Weather Underground.

• Gasbuddy.com. n

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