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A Modern Survival Kit for Emergencies

In the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks, many people are talking about being prepared for an emergency. The Early Show's contributor Laurie Hibberd has gathered a few high- and low-tech items that would be useful in a disaster.

The following is her list:

Personal Communication Devices

Chances are that cellular communications may not work. But with walkie-talkies, family members, or group members can move from the base and still communicate with one another in an emergency.

The BlackBerry, AOL Mobile Communicator, and the Motorola Timeport are portable email devices that do not run over cell-phone lines. Here are some features that differentiate them:

  • BlackBerry, AOL Mobile Communicator--It actually does everything a Palm does, plus it has this email technology. The cost is $400 for the small one and $500 for the larger one, plus monthly fees for service. The small one runs on AA batteries and the bigger one has an internal rechargeable battery, which lasts for 3 weeks on one charge.
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  • Motorola Timeport--It can also be a numeric and text pager. You can instant message other AOL users with the AOL version. The Timeport P935 is about $400 plus monthly fees, but you can get deals depending on the service provider. The AOL Mobile Communicator is $99 plus monthly fees.
  • The Motorola I85s--It is a cell phone/walkie-talkie with Nextel service. These can be used as instant two-way radios from as far away as Atlantic City, New Jersey, to Massachusetts. The two-way radio capability is not run on cell-phone lines so you can still use the walkie-talkie part even when cell lines are down. These phones are also walkie-talkies, numeric and text pagers, and email communicators with Internet access. They cost $169 each, plus monthly fees.
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  • The Audiovox FRS Two-Way Radios--They are only two-way radios, but they have a range of up to 2 miles and they run on regular AAA batteries. They are sold as a set and cost $70 for the set.
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The Sangean CC Radio--This is one of the finest portable AM/FM radios in the world and is also ideal for this purpose as well. This is the powerful portable you want, and it will bring in distant stations you never heard before.

In an emergency, this radio will operate for more than 250 hours on one set of 4 "D" batteries; an extra set or two of batteries will provide weeks of near-continuous operation. It weighs less than 4 pounds. The cost is $160. The optional solar kit ($120) consists of a solar panel, four heavy-duty NiCad rechargeable batteries, and a white LED reading light. Also includes an AC adapter.

Sangean DT-200V Radio--This is a pocket-size, digitally tuned radio that also features TV audio. That is, in areas of th country where TV is broadcast and received on channels 2 through 13, the audio portion can be heard. This is another nice touch during an emergency--listening to TV network broadcasts of the emergency just in case the local radio stations are knocked off the air. This radio also features FM and has a small speaker and earphones. It operates on a pair of AA batteries for many, many hours. Keep spare batteries on hand. The cost is $70.


A good flashlight is a must in such a kit, and why not use the new generation of LED flashlights. The bulbs last forever and it gives light for about 50 hours on a set of batteries. The CCTrek light, which runs on three AA batteries, sells for $30. The AA alkaline batteries inside have a 5-year shelf life, as all alkaline batteries do. These are waterproof, too.


Finally, it is important to have an inverter. This is a device that can plug into a car cigarette lighter socket and produce stanard 110-volt AC power for radios, TVs, computers, lights, and battery chargers, to name a few items. They use the car's battery and can be indispensable in a power failure or other emergency situation. Finding a car, any car, in an emergency, should not prove to be a problem. Even out of gas, the battery has lots of energy to power an inverter as needed. It costs $55.


Don't forget to keep spare batteries--when using disposable cells, use only alkaline batteries. For products that will see emergency use only, leave the batteries out of the devices and replace them every 4 years. All of these batteries are date coded.

Radios, flashlight, and power inverter are available from one place--the C. Crane Company, a catalog and online retailer. Web site:


Swiss Army knives can be a lifesaver in an emergency. There are a variety of different models available on the market and the bigger you get, the more functions and options it offers. For a preparedness kit, a large version is probably ideal.

Bag On Wheels

If you're going to be walking a distance with your preparedness kit, a bag with wheels is probably practical. The backpack from Eastern Mountain Sports is sturdy and durable and can be pulled on its wheels. It costs $89.
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