Of the 1,272 federal disaster declarations issued in the last decade, more than half were classified as major disasters. These include calamities such as floods, hurricanes and tropical storms, winter storms, and others. In the last 10 years, every state has had a least two events designated as a major federal disaster.
As most disasters involve loss of major services and necessities, including power, communications and running water, the following six items should be a part of everyone’s survival kit:
1.Cell phone signal booster: Already widely used by first responders and news crews when initially entering disaster zones, the Sleek 4G, a portable cell phone signal booster from Wilson Electronics, helps to transmit and receive calls and data via cell towers unaffected by a disaster. In a severe situation like Hurricane Sandy where all communications were compromised for several days, having a cell booster could save precious hours of driving time to find a strong cell signal.
2.Batteries: Two portable lithium-ion batteries, each with a minimum capacity of 10,000mAh, is enough for one battery to fully charge at least three smartphones or to power a tablet, netbook, or cell booster for several hours.
3.Portable solar panel: These weigh only about a pound and are very practical for charging portable batteries and devices. Recommended is a panel capable of producing at least 10 Watts of power and one amp of current.
4.LED headlamp: Also powered by rechargeable batteries, the latest generation of these types of lamps have adjustable brightness to maximize battery life and can be made bright enough to cast light more than 100 feet.
5.Two-way FRS/GMRS radios: When even a Wilson booster can’t find a cell signal, these radios provide a communications range up to 30 miles.
6.Microbial filter straw: This is used for drinking water that may be contaminated with bacteria, organic and waterborne chemicals, and other harmful elements. One filter straw can filter 30 gallons of water.
A lot has happened just in the last 10 years to make keeping in contact and avoiding health risks easier under adverse conditions. All of these products are readily available, weigh less than five pounds total and take up little room in a backpack.