Why Radios Matter During Disasters
6 features to look for when choosing a radio
When the unexpected happens, we’ve gotta be able to reach loved ones, contact emergency services, and stay up-to-date with emergency information. Reliable communication and information are so incredibly important!
Unfortunately, when disaster strikes, our ability to use our phones often becomes one of the first things that fail us. That’s because phones are heavily reliant on cell towers and the power grid.
Take, for example, Hurricane Harvey in 2017. Due to strong winds and flooding, which damaged cables between cellular towers, at least 17 emergency call centers and 320 cellular sites were disrupted.
The result? Over 148,000 people were suddenly left without access to cell service, Internet, or TV. Some counties even had cell-site outage percentages of up to 95 percent!
This is why in times of crisis, an oldie but a goodie is the most effective method of communication:
Thing is, not all radios are built the same. Here are some key features that you should look for:
#1. Multiple power sources:
The best emergency radios will have a number of power options so you’re covered when the power goes out. Examples of alternate charging options include solar, hand crank, and batteries (rechargeable or regular).
Check this one out. It’s powered in 5 different ways: AC, battery, hand crank, solar, and even your computer!
#2. Extended battery life:
Disasters are unpredictable and who knows how long you’ll be without access to other communication methods. You want to have a radio that gives you at least 12 hours of performance when fully charged.
#3. For all things related to weather look for the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) logo:
If you live in a place where big storms or sudden tornadoes are common, you’ll want a radio with the NOAA label. NOAA certified radios broadcast the NRW (National Weather Radio) which keeps you up to date with weather warnings, watches, forecasts, and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. These broadcasts cannot be heard on a simple AM/FM radio.
#4. Water resistance:
Having a water resistance radio is essential in extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, floods, and tsunamis. Water and moisture may get into your gadget which can result in shorting the internal circuit. Plus, electric shock is not fun! This feature can save your radio and possibly, your life as well.
This one has a waterproof level of IPX3 and can be used during rainy weather!
#5. One-Way vs. Two-Way:
It’s basically what it sounds like. One-way communication allows you to get real-time emergency information from local authorities. A two-way radio is a fast and easy way to communicate and, unlike cell phones, you can use them anywhere without worrying about network restrictions. All you have to do is tune in to the same channel. Plus, don't worry about a cracked screen; quality 2-way radios are built to withstand all kinds of battles.
Check these two-way radios out:
#6. Bonus features:
Today’s emergency radios are often designed to serve multiple purposes. Our favorites are those that have a built-in flashlight, cell phone charger, and panic/SOS button. However, be wise in choosing the features you need so that you don’t end up draining your battery.
This one has an SOS Alarm with flashing red lights, 1W Bright LED Flashlight, and 4 LED Reading Lamps.
In addition to having a powerful 3 LED flashlight, this one also acts as a power bank so you can charge any device.
No matter what, remember:
don’t worry. be ready.