Basic Emergency Communications
In these modern times we're nearly all of us are lucky enough to be able to carry around a very complex and powerful communication device in our pockets. And although our iPhones and Androids are amazing, they are not infallible. A well placed puddle + phone = dead phone. There's also the possibility of disruptions of service during a large enough event.
If you want to have a backup way to communicate with the greater world and not rely solely on the internet and your cell phone then you've come to the right place. We've put together a very basic list of must-have items for all emergency kits.
We aren't going to get too deep into the subject of radio here, although we will make some basic suggestions. If you want a more in-depth overview of Bug Out Communications then read our definitive article here.
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Basic Everyday Carry Items
There are certain time-trusted products which are cheap and easy to acquire which should be staples of any emergency kit: a whistle, a notepad and pen, and a signal mirror.
Typical Price: $11
Something nearly everyone should keep on a keychain or in their bug out bag or emergency kit. The Binboll whistle is nearly indestructible since it's made out of high-strength stainless steel. If you are in distress, the universal SOS code can be used: 3 short blasts, followed by 3 longer blasts, followed by 3 short blasts. In morse it would be "dit dit dit, dah dah dah, dit dit dit." . . . - - - . . .
Typical Price: $9
Check out our review of the Mini Jetscream. 122db LOUD. An economic alternative to some higher-end options. Pea-less design ensures it still works even when very cold (pea won't freeze to the inside of the whistle.) We keep these in our cars, our EDC's, and in our BOB's.
Military Glass Signal Mirror
Typical Price: $30
These are considered must have items by nearly all survivalists. Use it to signal great distances, in some cases up to 100 miles. Here is an article about how to use them, and why you need to carry one with you. Handy as a mirror to find things stuck in your eyes while traipsing around the woods.
Fisher Space Pen
Typical Price: $17
These pens are used by Military forces around the world. Writes at any angle, even under water and other extreme environments. Neat! We're having a hard time figuring out though what someone might need to write whilst under the water, but being able to write while it's raining out or in extreme humidity is helpful.
Rite in the Rain All Weather Pocket Notebooks
Typical Price: $12 for 3
Well if you have a pen that writes underwater, I suppose you need waterproof paper then. Rite in the Rain pads allow you to send love notes to your sweetie in the middle of a tsunami.
Getting Info From the Outside World
If your internet goes down or you lose power in your house you should have a backup way to get info about the event you might be experiencing. Having a handheld FM/AM radio is a really smart idea.
Sony ICF-S10MK2 Pocket AM/FM Radio
Typical Price: $20
Not knowing whats going on in the world around you would be extremely stressful, so a good, reliable cheap radio would be priceless during an emergency. This little guy is a work-horse and gets high praise from it's users on Amazon and from us. Your old school AM/FM handheld radio built like they used to be built.
MIDLAND WR300 Weather Radio
Typical Price: $60
If you aren't already aware, there is a national broadcasting network which sends out severe weather alerts and 24/7 updated weather information from NOAA. This radio can pick-up one of the local NOAA stations (so can your Baofeng radio by the way.) The Midland WR-300 23 Code S.A.M.E. Weather Alert Radio offers S.A.M.E. technology (Specific Area Message Encoding), which pre-programs the device to receive only those warnings that apply to your local area. You can choose state, county, and/or nearby counties. The single-speaker radio offers 23 programmable county codes, AM/FM tuning, date, time, alarm functions, and automatically switches from AM/FM to pertinent all-hazard alerts.