The emergency crank radio is a very important part of any emergency kit in a home. Natural and man-made disasters or simply long power outages can mean people are without important information that may be broadcasted on various radio channels or frequencies. While many rely on powered sources to get their news, like TV, plug in radios, and computers, these may not be available when a disaster hits. The emergency crank radio can provide a backup source of information, and other features that can help people get the information they need during such times.
As the name implies, the emergency crank radio is powered by using a hand crank, usually for about half a minute to two minutes, to provide the radio with power for about a half hour to an hour. Many of these radios feature other power sources too. Some can be battery operated, have an adapter to plug in when the power goes back on, and many also can be solar powered. The multiple ways in which the radio can get power make it more useful, and people should look for radios that have numerous power methods to increase their options in emergency settings.
Most types of the emergency crank radio receive AM/FM channels and others are capable of receiving shortwave radio signals that can allow listeners to hear international channels too. Another important feature to look for is that the radio has ability to tune into the weather band, which broadcasts information specific to natural disasters, especially those caused by weather systems. Ability to tune into multiple channels, wavelengths and bands is desirable for improving chances of finding information in an emergency.
In addition to working as a radio, the emergency crank radio may have several other functions. Some have a built in emergency flashlight that is also powered through the hand crank method. A few feature adapters that can be used to charge cellphones. Such radios may come with protective cases or be water resistant, which could certainly be of assistance in water related power outages like floods. Most radios are lightweight and easily portable, weighing between one to two pounds (.45-.91 kg).
Price on an emergency crank radio varies but average for well-reviewed brands is about $50-100 US Dollars (USD) or more. Those packing these radios away for emergency kits should look for those styles endorsed by the Red Cross. There are plenty of reviews of radios online too, and these can help determine which radios have been judged to be the most durable and are most recommended in emergencies.