7 On Your Side: Today's tech gadgets for your earthquake kit

With many new technological advancements since 1989, here are some new ideas on what to pack for today's earthquake kit.
When the earthquake shook Napa on Sunday, many folks had to rely on themselves for food, water, and electricity. However, much of what they used is different than the traditional items you put in a disaster preparedness kit. 7 On Your Side takes a look at how we've come a long way since the 1989 Loma Prieta quake.

To be sure, these are not your mother's earthquake supplies. Technology has changed not only our daily lives , but our disasters. The high tech gadgets available today are designed to keep you connected to power, water, the Internet and each other.

We've all been told to be ready for the kind of disaster that struck the Napa Valley this week.

"The primary needs have always been shelter, water and communication," Antonia Brewer from REI says.

Brewer stocks a lot of survival gear at REI. She says earthquake preparedness has leaped ahead since the Loma Prieta earthquake.

"Cellphones weren't around in 1989," Brewer says.

Now our cellphones can replace other items we used to put in a disaster kit. Lindsey Turrentine of CNET shows us how you can use your cellphone as a flashlight. It can also sound an alarm to call for help. Also, a Red Cross app on your phone will automatically send messages to contacts by Facebook, Twitter, email or text.

"You can use your phone to provide all the information you might need at a moment's notice, but can't remember otherwise," Turrentine says.

Your concern might be keeping it charged, but now there are cool new ways to do that too.

This radio can be powered up by cranking the handle. After about two minutes, it has enough power to turn on a flashlight, listen to the radio or charge up your phone. It also has a solar panel in the back, so if you're tired of cranking, leave it in the sun to get more energy.

"That's the real update is to be able to charge today's high tech equipment with small convenient sources other than batteries. Hand cranked radios are still very useful, but solar panels can make you technology work as well as when you're on the grid," Brewer says.

There is a solar panel that powers backup batteries which then can power up your phone, laptop or tablet.

Next, Turrentine shows us video of the hottest way we found to power your phone -- the practical power pot 5.

This cooking pot goes on a stove or campfire. The heat not only cooks your food, it is converted to energy that charges your device.

"Storage of energy has improved, so you can get those small battery units or any sort of device, lanterns or radios, that wasn't available in 1989" Brewer says.

There are also many new products that can purify water in case of a prolonged emergency. Drinking bottles have specialized filters and others use ultra-violet rays. Some of those water bottles even have USB connections.

REI told 7 On Your Side they ran low on these types of supplies, even before the Napa earthquake, because people were snapping them up before attending Burning Man. It's a good idea to stock up before the next quake.
Related Topics:
home earthquake disaster prepare norcal technology cellphone smartphones 7 On Your Side computers laptops power outage energy Napa San Francisco
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