Emergency Radios

When a disaster strikes, having access to emergency radios that do not rely on electricity or battery power can provide you with vital information concerning the environmental, health and safety conditions following the disaster. If a widespread emergency event such as a tornado outbreak, terrorist attack or nuclear attack were to occur, often broadcast radio stations are instructed by the government to suspend their programming in order to allow emergency information related by federal and state agencies to transmit over most frequencies.

Hand Crank Emergency Radios

Operating like a standard battery or electrical operated radio, hand crank radios rely on a dynamo generator to store power that is self-generated, and able to energize rechargeable lithium batteries. Created by Michael Faraday over 100 years ago, the hand crank generator transforms kinetic energy into an alternating current (AC power) by inserting conductive wires into magnetic fields. The copper wire coil found inside hand crank radios helps produce this magnetic field because it is spun around a magnet.

Kaito Voyager KA500

One of the better emergency radios offering hand crank power is the Kaito Voyager KA500 manufactured by RadioLabs. Features of this versatile radio include:

  • Access to NOAA weather alerts (radio automatically turns on when an alert is issued by the NOAA and turns off automatically after the alert has been issued)
  • Cell phone charging capability via USB port
  • Built-in solar panel and flashlight
  • DC jack
  • Dual conversion receiver
  • Two-color 5-LED light for easy reading
  • Seven standard bands
  • FM, AM shortwave coverage from 3.2Khz to 22Khz
  • Cranking for one minute results in about 15 minutes to one hour of power, depending on the radio type

Solar-Powered Radios

Radios containing solar panels are capable of operating using sunlight for immediate use or as reserved power. Solar powered radios are generally integrated with a dynamo generator to provide an alternative energy source and function much like solar powered calculators do by requiring moderate to direct sunlight for optimal performance.

Eton Solar Cellphone Charger Digital Weather Alert Radio

The Eton Corporation produces an excellent radio and water-resistant solar cell phone charger that includes the following additional features:

  • Barometer
  • Compass
  • Altimeter
  • LED flashlight
  • FM/AM digital radio
  • Digital alarm clock
  • NOAA weather radio
  • Solar cell phone charger with an 1800mAh internal battery
  • USB port
  • Monocrystal solar panel
  • Five volt, 500mA direct current outlet

Other makers of radios powered by solar or hand crank energy are Grundig, C Crane and Midland.

Enhanced radios that are larger and heavier provide power outlets for small appliances or may be equipped with tiny television screens. However, they will consume power quickly and need frequent recharging if used for these purposes.

Information Provided by Emergency Radios

Following a disaster that causes widespread power outages and substantial destruction, people with solar powered/hand crank radios will probably hear continuing messages from several state and government agencies. The Emergency Alert System is the national warning system implemented by the U.S. when a devastating event has occurred that requires a Presidential address.

In addition, county and state authorities use EAS to warn people about impending bad weather or to issue information concerning missing children (AMBER).

You may also hear messages originating from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency), DHS (Department of Homeland Security) and the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration). The NOAA provides important information concerning hurricanes, severe thunderstorms, tornadoes, dangerous heat, tsunamis, blizzards and even solar flares.

Having several emergency radios stashed away in the event a disaster eliminates the viability of the power grid can provide vital information that keeps you informed of what is happening, what to expect and how to prepare for other imminent emergencies.

Return from Emergency Radios to Survival Equipment

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