We don't like to think we'd ever use this stuff, but it can happen.
With the threat of severe weather and its dire consequences emblazoned on the American consciousness, many look to emergency preparedness tools as a way of dealing with the unexpected. Carefully judging the benefits of each product, its function and cost comparisons can outfit your home for disaster.
Why: The staple fire quencher recommended by the American Red Cross to be in every family's disaster supply kit.
Price: Extinguishers range in price from $10 to $50. This one from Kidde is $22.97 at Lowe's in Carson City; or visit the Kidde Web site at http://www.kiddeus.com/ for the product catalog.
Why: When a disaster strikes the first thing to go is the power.
The products: Ideally, your rechargeable flashlight should be charged before the blackout. If not, batteries are the only option. Lots of batteries. The Energizer Rechargeable flashlight is plugged into the wall to recharge. The Energizer Folding Lantern takes four D batteries and can illuminate your path with its wide light beam for 40 hours on economy mode. The Brinkmann Dual Xenon Rechargeable can shine brightly fore about 85 minutes on two 6-volt batteries.
Prices: $13-$23 at Lowe's; $20 at RadioShack in Carson City when in stock.
Why: The fast escape, such as in a house fire, when you have nowhere to go but out a second-story window.
The product: Kidde makes a two-story, 13-foot escape ladder that clanks around because of its metal steps, but is easily operable. The top of the ladder is secured over the window still and acts as hand rails. The ladder is released by simply pulling a tab. Just make sure no one is standing beneath it. The manufacturer says it can handle 1,000 pounds. It is also available for three-story homes.
Price: $40 at Lowe's; or visit the product catalogue at http://www.kiddeus.com/
Jeep TV/AM/FM radio
Why: This electronic device has a television, radio, detachable flashlight, fluorescent lantern, siren and compass. The radio and TV will allow you to listen in on relief efforts during a disaster.
The product: When the electricity is knocked off it'll only last as long as your battery supply. It takes nine C batteries for the TV and radio and four AA batteries for the flashlight. But if you're willing to feed off your car battery, the device comes with a cigarette lighter plug. The company brags that it can get up to 280 channels, which may be true with the radio, but the TV only gets UL, UH and UHF. You can plug an antenna into it to get more than the snowy reception.
Price: $24.63 at Lowe's; RadioShack carries about 15 different models starting at $70.
Water Ace by Myers Electronic Utility Sump Pump
Why: After the flood, it will rid your home or basement of standing water.
The product: The company says it connects to a standard garden hose and will automatically turn off when the water is gone.
Price: $116 at Lowe's; or visit http://www.waterace.com/sump.html.
ProPlumber Sediment Stopper
Why: When the water comes back on, who knows what can be in it.
The product: Although it doesn't claim to work miracles with the taste of your tap water after a disruption in service, it is advertised to remove sand, grit and silt.
Price: $25 at Lowe's.
First Aid Kit
Why: Not just your average alcohol swab and adhesive bandage kit.
Price: This AO Safety kit is $23.97 at Lowe's and comes with 130 pieces; a 186-piece all-purpose first-aid kit at Costco is $15.
Grundig emergency radio
Why: In case of emergency, turn the dynamo crank until the radio springs to life.
The product: This plastic radio is light and compact. The box boasts that it will "leap to life and play for up to an hour," with 60 turns of the crank, or a couple of minutes. Right out of the box, that's an overstatement.
The radio plays while cranking it, but as soon as you stop, so do the Golden Oldies. It has two shortwave channels, AM/FM and a small built-in light. When electricity is available, the Grundig recharges its built-in battery from an AC adapter. If you have a stock of batteries and don't care to crank, three AAs will do it.
The price: $48.97 at Lowe's, $40 at RadioShack, $50 for the larger model.
Other items for an emergency supply kit:
Matches in waterproof container
Dry foods and bottled water
Grill and propane gas
Once your kit is assembled, it's important to store it all in a safe, dry place. Jo Misuraca, Lowe's home safety consultant, said a 96-gallon plastic trash bin is ideal.
- Contact reporter Becky Bosshart at email@example.com or 881-1212.