Tag: Rechargeable

Emergency Supply Kit — Portable Radio


A wide-spread emergency can result in a power outage that lasts for days or even weeks. Over that entire time, if you’re on your own, you’ll need an emergency radio — or perhaps more than one — to know what is happening outside your immediate area.

What’s the best radio for emergency purposes?

The photo below shows five radios that we have purchased and tested; find our comparison of these five emergency radios here. (Guess which one of the radios is a dud!)

What follows are the basics for any radio you decide to put in your emergency supply kit.

A portable AM radio will be your lifeline.

Five emergency radios

Which radio should you choose?

Local emergency services and radio stations will be broadcasting news that you will want. Be sure you know what channel they’ll be using!  (Put a label on each radio.)

 — Evacuation plans: schedules, staging areas, different routes, location and status of available shelters

 — Weather reports: temperatures, anticipated rain and/or winds

 — Location of areas to avoid: “hotspots,” traffic jams, roadblocks

—  Announcements from Police, Fire or other emergency services

Generally, all the above notifications will be broadcast over the AM band. FM and television signals are “line of sight,” so they can get blocked by tall buildings, mountains, etc., and usually dissipate after about 50-75 miles. AM signals, on the other hand, can bounce off the ionosphere and travel much further (even all the way around the earth!). So, in an emergency situation, you want a strong AM radio so you can tune in to local emergency transmissions.

Your radio needs to work for days or even weeks.

In a power outage, your radio won’t work by being plugged into the wall. It will need an additional source of power – typically batteries. When they wear out, how will they be re-charged?

  1. Replace the batteries with new ones from your supplies. Obviously, you have to have plenty of the right size: AAA, AA, D, C, etc.
  2. Recharge “rechargeable” batteries using a hand crank and generator, built into the radio.
  3. Recharge the batteries using solar power, either built into the radio or attached as a separate panel.

What combination of features will work best for you?

Check out our Emergency Radio Review. It has a series of questions that will help you select exactly what you need.  It also identifies the one radio in the group above that you should NOT buy!

Your Emergency Plan Guide Team




Battery Power


Batteries! Gotta have ’em!

If you are suddenly separated from your electrical outlets, you are going to quickly realize that the only real alternative is whatever supply of working batteries you have on hand.  You will require them for flashlights, communications, computing and virtually any electrical tool or device you require . . . even entertainment.

Energizer Batteries

Winner in test

Batteries come in a wide variety of sizes and values.  Most of the batteries that power flashlights, portable radios, popular games, etc. are all rated at 1.5 volts.  The bigger they are, the more amps they can produce (amperage = direct current flow). You probably have a lot of devices that require the small AAA and AA sizes and some larger equipment that requires the larger sizes C and D.

What about rechargeable batteries?

If you’re tempted to rely on rechargeable batteries, you might want to consider the fact that rechargeable batteries don’t last as long as their disposable counterparts and what source of power will you use to recharge them if the wall plugs don’t work?

If the obvious conclusion is the purchase and storage of disposable batteries, how many do you purchase, what sizes and how long is their shelf life? The reality is that these batteries have a limited life span and you will need more of some sizes than others.

Winner in our 2012 battery test?  Energizer.

Batteries kept in electronic devices or stored on shelves will gradually lose their power.  Some batteries deteriorate faster than others.  We have tested various brands in our neighborhood C.E.R.T. organization over a ten year period.  The Energizer Brand seems to be the best for long-term use.  (We have never had any breakdowns).

The other major brand we used to use, Duracell, has proven unreliable over long periods. The casings break down over time and the leakage ruins the electronic device.  If you go with Duracell, be sure to check your devices frequently after a year of use.  Duracell also makes a premium brand that is used by police and fire departments that may prove more reliable, but they aren’t available everywhere and are more expensive.

Joe Krueger
Emergency Plan Guide

P.S. We regularly test batteries and update our findings. This Advisory was written in 2012. Head over to the SEARCH bar and plug in “batteries” to get the latest.