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Geek Chic

Survive disaster with emergency gadgets

11/14/2012

Hurricane Sandy caused an unprecedented amount of damage to the New York area, with massive power outages across lower Manhattan, Queens and New Jersey. Storms causing blackouts isn’t new, but it’s downright crippling for densely populated urban environments, especially when so many people rely on technology for work and to contact friends and family, as well as to get assistance in a times of need. Much of New York City came to a screeching halt without power, and commuters stuck in transit found themselves calling for rides. Mobile phone networks were congested with calls, and many phones died before successfully getting a hold of anyone. We’ve reached a point in our society where not having electricity can be more of a danger to survival than food and shelter.             

Heartwarming pictures online showed New Yorkers with electricity providing access to their power with extension cords and power strips for strangers to charge their phones. Many people were crowded in ATM kiosks and outside coffee shops just to charge up enough to get through the day. Storms like Sandy remind us to keep emergency survival supplies like potable water, non-perishable food and flashlights/glowsticks. But how do you prepare for surviving power outages? Luckily there are plenty of products out there to address these needs. Mophie and HyperJuice make portable, rechargeable batteries that can hold varying amounts of electricity to charge phones, tablets and other gadgets. They’re not exclusively for survival, but they could make the difference between calling for help and being stranded without power. Plenty of companies make small solar panels to trickle charge devices, although they might be more useful for campouts than on dark and stormy nights. The BioLite Stove is a small furnace used to burn kindling in order to convert that heat into usable power. Whatever you get, the lesson learned after Sandy is to add tech survival to your supplies — you might need it. CV

Robert Anhalt is Director of Content at Geek Speak Forum and contributes to Cityview.

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