03 Dec Tech Ready Fire Kit
It’s that time of the year when our attention turns to fire safety so here are few tech suggestions to make your personal fire ready kit tech savvy.
The Southern Australia Seasonal Bushfire Outlook 2018 shows fire potential across New South Wales, the ACT, Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and southern Western Australia and Queensland. The warmer and drier than average weather over recent months, combined with the forecasts for spring, suggest that the southern fire season is likely to commence earlier than usual and be more active than normal.
Must haves for your Fire Ready Kit
If you live in a district which is at risk of fire, it’s time to check your fire ready kit and maybe add a few tech-related gadgets as well as make a few changes to your phone. There’s a very good chance that you will lose power during a fire, even if you’re not directly in the line of fire. While on the subject of leaving home in a hurry, if you have garage doors and gates that require electricity to open, can you, and more importantly, ALL members of the family open these gates and doors without power? There’s no time like the present to show them how to do it now.
The mobile phone network is not impervious to fire, BUT most base stations have battery backup which lasts for hours, not days. Mobile base stations connect calls into the phone network via cable or radio link. If this link is broken then that base station is disconnected from the network and out of action.
In a time of emergency such as fire, mobile phone networks will suffer from congestion. The most efficient form of getting a message out is text. (SMS) This does not include internet-based messaging systems.
It’s important to know that If your phone is using a distant base station, your phone will need more power for the signal to reach that base station and will result in your battery going flat faster than you would normally expect.
If you use free public wifi at specific locations, these may not be available in event of a power outage.
Tech adds to your Fire Ready Kit.
- Personal Identification for accessing cash if power is out at ATMS
- A large pack of AA and AAA batteries. – for battery-powered transistor radios and torches.
- A transistor radio
- At least two charged USB Power Banks and Battery Packs (Bricks) – for charging mobile phones
- At least two spare USB phone charging cables suitable for your phone.
- At least two car USB chargers that fits the cigarette lighter in your car.
- A hard drive which contains photos and scans of all your important documents.
- Use your phone camera to photograph documents if needed.
Changes to your mobile phone
- Share your location with family and friends using apps such as Find Friends, Snapchat, etc. There are plenty to choose from and here’s a list, but ask your friends what they’re using and join those networks.
- Install apps that will keep you up-to-date such as your states fire (emergency) app and the BOM app. Allow your device to receive notifications from these apps as well as sharing your location with them.
- Download the ABC listen app to tune in to local radio if you don’t have over the air radio apps.
- Find a loud ringtone for your phone and turn it up as loud as possible. Enable vibrate.
- If you block your number – unblock it.
- If your data allowance is low, recharge it.
Most of these items are readily available in store and online. When buying USB charges for your car, buy ones which have a higher charge rate. You’ll find plenty of 2.4A (Amp) chargers, but if you can find 3, 4 or even 5A chargers, this will charge more phones faster. They’ll cost a little bit more too.
When buying USB power banks or power blocks, the higher the current rating the better. A 10000mAh (milliamp hour) is better than a 5000mAh.
This list is a start to get you tech-savvy in time of fire or any emergency where long power outages can be expected.