Every hurricane season brings the risk of damage to property, loss of power, and in the extreme cases loss of life. Right now there is no doubt that hurricane season is upon us in the US. After the extreme flooding in Texas from Harvey and Irma wreaking havoc in the Caribbean with Florida and the East Coast in her sights. Now has never been a better time to look at how technology can help you in a natural disaster.
Much of what is said here applies to the upcoming hurricane but is also applicable in other natural disasters such as tornadoes, flooding, thunderstorms, and blizzards.
One of the probable outcomes in most natural disasters is the loss of power. Fortunately, there are many ways to keep your devices powered up in these situations. Certainly, there is nothing more important than keeping your phone powered up when most of us come to rely on it and in an emergency, it can mean life or death.
– Power Banks
Power banks are the first logical choice and most of us already have one but for those of us that do not, it is always a good idea to have one. For those that already have one if you’re in the path of dangerous weather or just escaping it, then it’s always better to have more than one. You never know how long your power will be out or how long you might be away from the plug while traveling.
While there are many to choose from at all different price levels Anker has been around for awhile. Their power banks are some of the highest rated and most reviewed on Amazon.
The Anker PowerCore+ mini is a tiny power bank perfect for your pocket and has a capacity of 3350mAh. This will give almost a full charge to a Samsung S8+ and iPhone 7 Plus. The Anker PowerCore 20100 is perfect for families with its 2 USB output ports and 20,000mAh capacity. This will charge a Samsung S8+ or iPhone 7 Plus several times over. This could also be useful when your power is out for days.
– Quick Charge
Something the previous two power banks are missing are Quick Charge capabilities. Quick Charge allows you to charge up your device up to 80% in just 30 minutes. You might not always need this feature but an emergency might be one of the times you need it most.
For those with Android devices that support Quick Charge, I would recommend the Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 QC or Anker PowerCore Speed 20,000 QC. Both are Quick Charge compatible and will charge up your phone several times over. The Anker PowerCore Speed 20,000 QC not only doubles the capacity of the Anker PowerCore Speed 10,000 QC but also includes 2 USB output ports for charging two devices at once.
– Jump Starter
For all of you not hunkering down and driving out of the path of inclement weather, a power bank that can jump start your car and includes a flashlight could be essential. You don’t want to get stranded on the side of the road or be that car who is holding up traffic as everyone is trying to evacuate. I have previously reviewed the iClever 15,000mAh Portable Car Jump Starter here on our site and it has plenty of power to keep your devices charged, jump start your car, or light your way in the dark. Since the review, I’ve even used it to jump start a stranger’s car in the parking lot and it worked perfectly.
– Solar Power
During a hurricane or other natural disaster solar power won’t be very useful to you until afterward, the power can be out for days and even weeks on end. During these times getting some power from any source could be a necessity and thankfully the sun is an abundant free source. Fair warning though, in my experience devices such as these need to be in extremely bright sunlight and charge rather slowly even then.
The Ayyie Solar Power Bank has a 10,000mAh capacity and is water resistant, shock resistant, and dust proof. It is highly rated on Amazon, will charge up your devices at least twice, has a compass, and a flashlight.
Another route to go is to use some solar panels with a USB output to charge up your other power banks or devices directly. The CHOETECH 19W Solar Panel Charger is made of weather proof materials, provides a compact fold up design, and 2 USB output ports to charge up multiple devices. CHOETECH is a reputable brand and this solar panel is highly rated on Amazon.
– Battery Powered Generators
If you really want to go overboard and you need AC power to plug into there are also battery powered generators out there. They come in a couple of sizes and they aren’t all that much cheaper than traditional generators. However, they are more compact, silent, and safe to run inside.
While traditional generators use fuel that might make them unsafe to run indoors, they are easier to replenish when you need power. In order to recharge the battery powered ones, it would require some power solar panels, lots of sun, or access to a working power outlet.
Storms don’t hit at convenient times, some come during the day while others strike in the night leaving you in darkness. Even when they don’t strike at night the resulting power outages leave you in darkness, sometimes lasting for several days. In situations like this candles are great but sometimes you need more light or you need one that cannot be put out by wind or rain. Flashlights and lanterns are perfect solutions. While it’s true phones offer a flashlight you probably won’t want to use your phone out in that weather, or risk killing the battery so it’s best to have another option.
A couple of the above power banks included a flashlight but are quite large and not easy to carry in your pocket. If you’re looking to keep a flashlight on you then it might be nice to have one that can also charge your phone. The Oripow 6400mAh Power Bank is a small portable power bank that will fit in your pocket and features a flashlight with SOS blinking function.
The Kizen Solar Powered LED Camping Lantern has pretty much all you need in a lantern. It provides you with two ways to charge either through USB or solar power. That’s not all though, it is also splash proof, can charge up your phone through USB, and features an SOS blinking mode.
If you’re looking for a more traditional flashlight with a lot of power in a small size, then I highly recommend the UltraFire 7w 300lm Mini Cree LED Flashlight. I own one of these myself and they are very bright, offer two brightness levels, the ability to zoom, and a strobe function. It is powered by one AA battery and has a waterproof design.
With the power out and cell signals being spotty during storms many times we have to rely on that old mostly forgotten technology called the radio.
This emergency radio from Esky features everything you might need in an emergency. It is a compact AM/FM/NOAA radio with a built in flashlight and can charge your cell phone. It features three convenient ways to charge through micro USB, solar, or the dynamo crank handle. This is probably one of the most essential tools that everyone needs when they hear bad weather is coming.
When a hurricane comes it brings along rain and storm surge. This can leave many homes flooded and many of us wading through water sometimes up to our waist or higher. While many phones these days are adding protection against water this will be more than just water. Most times it also contains dirt, debris, and even raw sewage. This is not something I would want my phone to take a dunk in or stay submerged in regardless of waterproofing. Luckily there are many highly rated waterproof cases to choose from.
The JOTO universal waterproof case will fit most phones even the Samsung Galaxy S8+ without a case or iPhone 7 Plus and don’t worry you can still use it with the case on.
For iPhone users, you might want to give the Buylen Universal Waterproof Case a try for its compatibility with Touch ID. The reviews state you do have to press down pretty hard though and it’s unclear whether this would work with fingerprint scanners on Android phones as well.
A fan might seem essential to many people but try telling me that after you’ve been without power for a couple of days in the Florida heat. This is where a USB fan comes in handy because it can be powered by one of the many power banks or solar chargers mentioned previously.
The iMBAPrice USB-MFAN USB Mini Desktop Fan for example is a highly rated and affordably priced fan on Amazon. This little fan could help keep you from overheating while you wait for the power to kick back on and your sweet sweet air conditioning to return.