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Hurricane Joaquin has forced many Northeasterners to hunker down and prepare “go bags” in case they are forced to evacuate their homes due to extreme weather.
What should people pack? Water, flashlights, batteries, blankets and other basic supplies are essential, but there are other items to consider.
Should you find yourself powered down by Mother Nature, you’re going to want to stay entertained and able to communicate with others. That’s when gadgets such as battery-powered lights (which can be purchased for under $30) become necessary.
The Magnetic LED “Light Mine Pro” is the size of a baseball and has four electronic light functions. When you want to stay informed, hand-cranked digital radios are the way to go. L.L. Bean has an all-purpose weather radio that also has a USB port, which gives you the capability to charge your smartphone or tablet.
Other ways to juice up are with external battery packs. Some options include the Sabrent backup battery, capable of charging up to four devices at once, and the popular Mophie, which doubles as a protective case. You can also find chargers that are solar-powered for under $20.
Power inverters, including this one from Batteries Plus, are also a handy item to have because they can convert power from your car battery.
“One of the first things you need is a go bag because when a disaster strikes and if you’re forced out of your home, you have to live wherever, like an emergency evacuation center or what not,” Aton Edwards, and expert in emergency preparedness, told NBC News. “So having a go bag gives you your first line of defense because you have everything you need to survive out of your home for three days.”
Edwards says that each family member must have their own go bag on hand and recommends the Life Gear Wings-of-life Backpack for those who would rather have a ready-made kit.
Once you have all the gadgets you need to charge up your devices, you’ll be able to access apps that will keep you informed and to seek help in case of an emergency.
You can purchase NOAA Hi-Def Radar in the app store for $1.99 to gain access to real-time hi-def animated weather radar images. One helpful aspect of the app is that it shows lightning strikes and tracks hurricanes on an interactive map. The American Red Cross also has its own first aid and hurricane apps available in the app store.
You can find out about open shelters in the area through the free VisionLink OEM Shelter app just by texting the word “shelter” and zip code to 43362 (4FEMA).