I live in San Francisco, where we have big nasty earthquakes. You may live in New York City or New Jersey or Texas, where you have truly scary hurricanes. Chances are that wherever you dwell, some planetary upheaval happens every now and then. That’s why you need an emergency AM/FM radio. The holiday season is as good a time as any to get one.
Emergency radios run on batteries and/or include a hand crank and a solar panel. That way they allow you to connect to media even when you have no electrical power. If you lose power, it’s likely that you won’t have WiFi, cable, or DSL Internet access. So an optimal way in those circumstances to get emergency information is via good old broadcast radio or TV. Your car will pick up AM/FM signals, but you don’t want to waste its battery and gas. So get yourself an emergency radio, which will also access short wave and other emergency services.
These little gadgets are quite handsome and handy, actually. My friend Bob Mason so loves his Eton Microlink Solar Powered American Red Cross stickered radio that he takes it around with him through the day:
First I started listening to baseball games. AM, KNBR radio, the San Francisco Giants games. Then the Oakland A’s started winning and I started listening them on KGMZ 95.7 FM. So on a perfect day I might get 6 hours in, though usually they overlap. The mechanics of the radio intrigue and compel me in a way that no keyboard, mouse, touch pad, swipe goober, or nostril sensor ever could. It’s just so not digital. It’s analog and mechanical – the on/off know and the tuning dial work the way such things always have. I feel the off on click, I feel good when I turn it off, that I’m ‘saving electricity’. Which is superficially silly – the electricity is negligible, and if I in fact run down the charge – which has never happened so far – I could charge it up. The tuning knob requires deft manual finger work to get some stations, and to keep certain ones audible. What I can get varies from place to place, with time of day, perhaps weather.
Other devices include the Ambient Weather WR-111A. The WR-111A includes National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration National Weather Service Alerts. You can learn more about NOAA Weather Radio here.
If you are looking for something architecturally adventurous, there’s the American Red Cross FRX3 Hand Turbine, which will also charge your cell phone via its hand crank mechanism. On the other hand if you are looking for something that resembles an old style transistor radio, there’s the Kaito Voyager Pro KA600. This machine has everything, including an emergency siren and a thermometer (!!).
You get the idea. If you happen to live somewhere on the planet earth, you should probably get one of these gadgets. There are plenty of others. Here are some You Tube reviews of the aforementioned.