The first in our series of Emergency Preparedness blogs delves into the subject of communications … and what you can do if you lose it.
During my 15 years living in East Texas, I’ve experienced the effects of 7 major hurricanes and tropical storms that have caused substantial damage to property and infrastructure across my local region. Following the loss of one’s home and possessions, the loss of utilities can be equally as devastating and is one of the unfortunate follow on effects of such disasters, one that can make an already dire situation even more unbearable.
Under normal everyday conditions, the loss of communications can be frustrating as heck. Whether we like to admit it or not, we take our cell phones for granted. It’s in our hands for hours of everyday and many run their lives through the use of cell phones. Communication with loved ones, browsing and shopping on the web, paying bills, posting on social media, catching up on the news in your city, state, and country … even internationally are all things done without a thought of how fragile the communication infrastructure is.
In my part of Texas, power supply interruption is inevitable during bad storms and hurricanes. Some residential homes have either a hard wired or a form of portable generator, If you don’t have access to a generator, the loss of power, even for one hour, is frustrating … any longer than an hour and it can seem like the world is coming to an end! No cell phone, no TV … no way to communicate, no way to know what’s going on outside the bubble we call home. Are there more storms, damage coming our way? Is help coming? And if so, when? How will we find out?
All hope is not lost. There are readily available alternatives to the cell phone. One of the most forgotten media devices out there is the humble radio. Yes, the radio. In fact, there is so much information available to us on our local radio stations. Just because we’re without power doesn’t mean everyone is. Commercial entities have generator backup so they can continue to function.
Another vital source for information is the equally important, often forgotten NOAA weather alert system. NOAA (National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration) Weather Radio All Hazards (NWR) is a nationwide network of radio stations broadcasting continuous weather information directly from the nearest National Weather Service office. NWR broadcasts official Weather Service warnings, watches, forecasts and other hazard information 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In conjunction with Federal, State, and Local Emergency Managers and other public officials, NWR also broadcasts warning and post-event information for all types of hazards – including natural (such as earthquakes or avalanches), environmental (such as chemical releases or oil spills), and public safety (such as AMBER alerts or 911 Telephone outages).
How can you access the NOAA broadcasts I hear you saying?
There are many different types of emergency radios equipped with NOAA WX access. One such radio is the ER210 E+READY® Compact Emergency Crank WX Radio from Midland USA.
This compact emergency weather alert crank radio is not just perfect for emergency situations, it’s also great for everyday use. It’s easily stowed anywhere and is a convenient companion in your preparedness kit or everyday gear bag. The availability of AM/FM radio along with NOAA weather alert channels will keep you connected no matter where you are or when you’ll need it.
I recently had the chance to review the ER210 E+READY® Compact Emergency Crank WX Radio which was generously provided by Midland USA. It is a very light and compact piece of technology. It can easily be held in one hand or attached to a backpack with a carabiner through the handle of the unit or popped into your bag if you need to be on the move.
The ER-210 E-ready radio can be powered FOUR ways: a rechargeable BATT22L Li-ion battery (supplied), a 1” x 2.5” solar panel mounted on the top of the radio, by a manually operated crank handle on the back of the unit, and (while you still have power) via a micro USB port under a rubber cover beneath the handle, which is also used to recharge the BATT22L Li-ion battery. You can even charge your cell phone via the regular USB port under the same cover as the micro USB!
For those all-important news and situational updates, the AM/FM stations are easily tuned by use of the band and up/down push buttons on the front panel and for up to date NOAA WX (weather reports), simply push the band button to toggle between AM/FM and WX until WX is shown on the display. Hold down the up or down button and the ER-210 will automatically scan and lock in to the local NOAA weather channel for your area….it is that simple.
There is a retractable, directional, 5 piece antenna to fine tune reception and a three power setting flashlight at the front of the radio (low, high and SOS mode) activated by a little button above the light in front of the solar panel. Also beneath the rubber USB cover is an earphone/headphone jack.
I think this little radio is an absolute gem. It’s compact, easy to use and doesn’t have to be stored away and forgotten until the next power outage. Carry it with you every day, use it when you’re outside away from a power supply, listen to the radio on the ER-210 and save your cell phone battery, or you can even use the radio to charge your cell phone while it charges itself through the solar panel. This little thing is SO useful !
An important thing to remember is, when the power is off and there is no way to find out what the heck is happening around you, who wouldn’t want one of these ER210 E+READY® Compact Emergency Crank WX Radios with four power options, AM/FM/Weather radio, an emergency flashlight plus a USB charger for your phone. It would be a great idea to get one for your parents and Grandparents too! I’m certainly glad I have one.
You can find the Midland ER210 Emergency Alert AM FM Weather Radio HERE through our Amazon affiliate link.
Here are the all-important specifications: