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Slide Show | October 2012

7 Must-Haves for Your Emergency Kit

When disaster strikes and the grid crashes, candles will get you only so far.

So we came up with a list of seven items that will help you get by when the power is out.

Stock up now so you’ll be prepared for an emergency. Slide show navigation begins to the right.


7 Must-Haves for Your Emergency Kit

Four Lamps in One

A rechargeable lantern will light up a room, but what about the rest of your house? Rather than stockpiling multiple lamps, get the $55 Coleman Quad Lantern. Featuring four detachable light panels, each with six bright LEDs, the Quad is four lanterns in one. Each panel has its own on/off switch and recharges on the base, which uses eight D-cell batteries. Also consider the Coleman LED Rechargeable Lantern ($46). Though it doesn’t split into four lights, its rechargeable base means no battery hassles.

Four Lamps in One

Battery-Operated TV

A portable, rechargeable TV, such as the Axion AXN-8701 ($84.95 on Amazon.com), is handy for checking the latest news updates. The 7-inch LCD set receives local digital stations and runs up to 1.5 hours on battery power. It’s easy to reposition the Axion’s built-in antenna for better reception, or you can switch to the free-standing external antenna to pick up weaker signals. The car adapter is handy for roadside viewing or using your vehicle as a power supply.

Battery-Operated TV

Portable Power Pack

When the grid goes dark, a portable power station is a quick-and-easy way to run the gadgets you need most. The Duracell DPP-300EP Powerpack 300 ($132) does double-duty as home and auto charger. It delivers 300 watts of power through one DC and two AC outlets. That lets you run a laptop computer for 2.5 hours and a cell phone for 15 hours, for example. Plug the Powerpack into an AC outlet and it’ll stay fully charged for emergencies. It has a detachable LED flashlight, an air compressor for pumping up tires, and jumper cables for starting a car battery.

Portable Power Pack

Radio That Won’t Die

A disaster-rated radio must keep working even after its batteries give out. The American Red Cross Solarlink FR600 Eton Emergency Radio ($87) is a rugged, water-resistant unit with multiple power sources. You can run it on solar power, by using a hand crank, or with off-the-shelf AA or AAA batteries. The radio can receive AM, FM, shortwave and weather-alert broadcasts. It also has a USB port for charging certain cell phones, as well as an LED flashlight, a flashing beacon and an emergency siren. The handle makes the unit easy to carry or hang.

Radio That Won’t Die

Mega Generator

Backup batteries and portable power packs won’t keep a major appliance running during a lengthy outage. If you’ve got a freezer full of fillets to keep frozen, a heavy-duty generator is the answer. The ETQ TG32P12 ($500), from Eastern Tools & Equipment, is a 3,250-watt power station with a 7-horsepower engine. Its 4-gallon fuel tank provides up to 13 hours of run time (at half-load). Weighing a hefty 111 pounds, this beast is only marginally portable -- although the included wheel kit does make the ETQ TG32P12 somewhat easy to roll into action.

Mega Generator

Portable Water

In a serious emergency, water from the municipal supply may not be safe to drink. The Katadyn Combi ($200) is a portable water-purification system that filters out bacteria, protozoa, sediments and other contaminants. Its two-stage carbon-and-ceramic filter produces about 1 liter of drinkable water per minute. Katadyn’s optional faucet-mount adaptor ($55) makes the Combi convenient for home use, too.

Portable Water

Grandma's Phone

Cordless, cellular and Internet phones may be popular, but the venerable corded handset has one distinct advantage: When paired with land-line phone service, it’s the odds-on favorite to keep working during a blackout. The AT&T 210 Trimline phone is a sturdy, no-frills model that lists for as little as $10 online. Land-line phone service is cheap, too, provided you avoid the extras.

Grandma's Phone

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