Thursday, July 25, 2013

Tech Items You Need To Have In Your Emergency Kit

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In Canada having two major disasters within a month, the Flooding in Alberta and the train accident in Quebec the importance of a well stocked emergency kit should be top of mind.  A first aid kit, a supply of food and water to last 72 hours  a radio and batteries have been the staple items for an emergency survival kit.  Modern technology now provides more items that can improve the chances of surviving a major disaster.

TV antenna: 
Disasters both natural and man made hitting Canada within the past month has brought attention that people need a 72 hour emergency kit in order to survive any emergency situation that arise from any disaster. A first aid kit, bottled water, food and a radio and batteries are considered to be the key items for an emergency kit.  Modern life needs a few more essential items to ensure access to information and communications in an emergency.  

First on the list of modern emergency essentials is an item that some consider obsolete but can provide access to information on television even when cable TV infrastructure is destroyed in the aftermath of a disaster is a TV antenna.  Even satellite TV subscribers should have an antenna ready for local information in the event of a disaster that damages satellite dishes rendering satellite TV service inaccessible.  

Restoring utility services power and wireline telephone take priority over cable TV could mean weeks before service can be restored to subscribers.  In the aftermath of a disaster over the air broadcasting is going to be the only source of information from emergency officials.

Satellite TV subscribers would be equally wise to have an antenna ready in case of emergency.  Replacing satellite dishes damaged by a disaster could take weeks as well.  With a limited supply of replacement dishes and technicians to install them.  Many small towns and rural areas are served by TV stations that are not carried on Satellite TV that makes a TV antenna an even more essential item to have in an emergency kit.

Cell phone on a competing carrier:  After a disaster that cuts off wireline telephone people depend on their cell phone even more than they do in normal life.  If the disaster if bad enough to disable cell towers then even that lifeline can get cut off.  If someone's regular carrier is unable to service in an emergency chances are a competing carrier will be able to provide service.

A Bell subscriber would be wise to have a cell phone for Rogers service even without an active subscription.  In the event that Verizon service is not available due to damaged tower.  A cell phone without active subscription can still make a call to 911, the only stipulation is that inactive cell phones have to use technologies that are still supported by the cellular carriers.  Analog and TDMA based cell phones do not have the ability to call 911 since there are no networks using those technologies any more.  CDMA and older GSM phones can still make 911 calls and can still be activated on prepaid service which is useful for getting in touch with our of town relatives after an emergency.

Online banking app: In the immediate aftermath of a disaster severe enough to close local bank branches the need to access money will be difficult to meet.  Using an app on a smartphone or tablet when Internet access is available will help with that need, emergency funds in a savings account can be easily transferred into a checking account or onto a credit card account quickly or easily.  Using an online banking app people can find an ATM in service if cash is needed in the event if stores are unable accept credit or debit cards due to disruptions to payment processing systems.

Solar Charger: With smartphones and tablets being the most important communications and information gathering tools many people use, with available Internet access the ability to keep these tools charged and ready for use will detirmine how effective will be an emergency situation. If there is no power available to charge these devices access to information and communications services will be limited to a period while the batteries in these devices are charged.  Having a solar charger ready for use provides a source of power to charge smartphones and tablets without needing plug in grid power. 

Being prepared for if the unthinkable ever happens, having the right technology will be as important as food and water to survive.

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