10 Tools and Gadgets to Prepare for Hurricane Katia or Other Natural Disasters


Hurricane Irene struck a few days ago and some people in the Northeast are still without power and other basic services. This got me thinking about some basic emergency preparedness and how sometime the old solutions are still the best. You may get all your news on your iPhone via The HuffPo, or eat only microwave organic food normally–but most likely that’s not gonna cut it after an earthquake, hurricane or other natural disaster.

Here are ten items you are going to want stashed away somewhere in case of emergency.

1. Battery-Powered AM/FM radio. All hell can break loose but it would take a global thermal nuclear war to stop broadcast radio. Several of my cell phones over the years have had built in FM tuners. Not streaming radio or satellite radio, but real frequency modulation right out of the air. It can be done, it take almost no battery power or space, so why doesn’t every phone have one?

2. Camp Stove or Gas Grill. Depending on how you normally cook, you could be without hot meals for days or weeks in the event of widespread power outages. If you have a backyard gas grill or a portable camp stove, you can still have hot meals in the meantime.

It’s not a bad idea to make sure the tank is full when you hear of oncoming bad weather. If you already have a gas stove in your kitchen you can skip this item but not the next one.

3. Matches. There will be candles to light. If you have gas appliances, there’s a good chance pilot lights will need to be re-lit. If you’re cooking on the camp stove of gas grill you’ll need them too. Even if you have pilotless appliances, you’ll need them to light the stove and oven because the electric ignition isn’t going to work.

4. Candles. Of course you’ll need these. Everybody knows they are as important as clean water in emergency planning. I’m not listing perishables, so I’m skipping the water.

5. Can Opener. You’re going to look pretty stupid knocking on doors trying to find a manual can opener when you are stuck with a week’s worth of Dinty Moore beef stew and no way to open it.

6. Flash lights. LEDs have gotten so bright, cheap and efficient you can get light from 3 LEDs and 3 AA batteries that rivals an old D cell MagLite from a few years ago–and it will last for hours on those three little batteries.

7. Hand Saw. If a tree falls on your car or house, you would be amazed at how much of it you can clear by hand with a pruning saw. Even better is a gas-powered chain saw–and it much more useful if the disaster you are preparing for involves zombies or deadites.

8. Hammer & Nails. You can improvise materials to board up windows of doors from anywhere. Anything could be used as a hammer, but a real one is much better at the job. There is nothing that can replace the nail. Early settlers used to burn down shelters before moving on and then collect the nails with a magnet.

9. Landline Phone. This one is a crap shoot. Telephone lines can go down as easily as electrical lines and the nearest cell tower could lose its connection, too. But have you ever tried to make a cell phone call into or out of an area in the middle of a disaster? An earthquake in L.A. big enough to make everyone take notice and run out of the house, but not cause damage, will cause busy signals on cell phones county-wide for hours.

10. Shovel. Doesn’t matter what type of shovel, whichever one you have it’s not going to be the perfect one. The wrong one is better than none if there’s rubble, mud, snow or whatever. You are going to need a shovel.

So there you have it off the top of my head–ten tools and old tech gadgets that are going to come in handy no matter whether it’s a blizzard or the zombie apocalypse we’ve all been hearing so much about. Feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments below.

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  1. ChuckG

    3 years ago

    We use to get rolling blackouts in Santa Cruz, Ca. Flashlights and lots of candles helped us with the guests at the hotel. We got lucky once we were on the grid with the police station. Didn’t get another blackout after that, but it’s scary when it’s really dark. If you don’t have anything, have a flashlight with new batteries put in each year.

  2. PunchYourself

    3 years ago

    You could mention the apocalyptic eton emergency radio which operates with a hand crank that the American Red Cross even has its own edition. Oh, and canned goods and water. And a cock-fighting ring for entertainment, because your TV will be down. And last but not least, being independently wealthy is a must if you live in an area subject to mudslides.

  3. ebbeszoo

    3 years ago

    In May, when it is tax relief weekend for the batteries, first aid supplies, and water, I stock up for my emergency kit.I have two, one in the basement and one in the house. I make sure these are fully stocked with all sizes of batteries, flash lights, first aid kits, etc. Then I also keep jugs of water in the basement for emergencies. This is very helfpul so when a hurrican does come through (which they do often where I live on the east coast) I’m not going at the last minute buying stuff.

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