As regular readers know, we had a few tornadoes touch down in our town on May 29th. As a result, we were without power for several hours and cell phone service was also knocked out. A radio would have been really handy so we could get some sense of the damage and whether we were still at risk.

Since then I’ve purchased a small hand crank powered AM/FM radio/flashlight. Crank it for a minute, and it’ll be powered up for 10 minutes. It features a 4 LED flashlight, AM/FM radio, and should you need it, a 125 decibel siren. Fully charged, it’ll run for 3-1/2 hours…

Energizer emergency flashlight/radio

There are many different brands and types of crank powered radios available – you’re sure to find one that suits your needs. One small adjustment I made on ours was – after finding a local station with a strong signal – taping over the tuner dial so it couldn’t accidentally be moved:

Of course the tape can always be peeled off should I need to tune to a different station. I purchased this particular unit at Wal-Mart for about $20.

Compact survival kit

Recently I was doing a little browsing over at ThinkGeek and stumbled upon a neat and inexpensive survival kit. Costing only $12.99, it measures 4.25″ x 3″ x .9″ and contains 18 items that’d be extremely useful if you were stranded somewhere – particularly outdoors.

Packed in a sardine can-like tin, the kit contains one each of the following: non-aspirin pain reliever, adhesive bandage, alcohol prep pad, antibiotic ointment, book of matches, compass, chewing gum, sugar, salt, energy nugget, duct tape, fire starter cube, first aid instructions, fish hook & line, note paper, pencil, razor blade, safety pin, reflective signal surface, tea bag, waterproof bag, whistle, and wire clip.

Here’s a photo of the kit’s contents:

emergency kit contents

Toss one in your car’s glove box and be prepared should you somehow be stranded; the kit is $12.99 at ThinkGeek.

Bonus Item

It could be argued that every home ought to have a simple survival kit stored in the basement or other secure/protected location: several gallons of water, and some emergency meals. If you live in an area that’s subject to tropical storms, tornadoes or other violent weather, check out these freeze dried meals available at Campmor:

Emergency meal kit from

Each kit contains enough freeze dried meals to last 72 hours and costs $45.99 – cheap insurance should disaster strike!!

Take a few minutes to take stock of how well you’d be prepared should you face a genuine emergency, and if you’re not prepared, take the necessary steps now – it’ll give you greater peace of mind and should the worst happen, you’ll be ready.

BTW, see my related post “Create your own roadside emergency kit.”

Have a great week!

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