Technology and Survival

People-centered early warning is about empowering at-risk communities so that they may get out of harm’s way when conflict escalates in their direction. I have already blogged about the use of technology for survival in areas of conflict: see Fallujah, El Salvador and an overview here. I have also noted that the disaster management community tends to adopt new technology long before the conflict prevention community does. Today’s Wired magazine features a neat review of “Survival Gear that’s Just Crazy Enough to Work.” While the review does not evaluate the gear for purposes of survival in conflict zones, at least two types of gear reviewed may be relevant.

Take for example the Bedu Emergency Rapid Response kit below. The kit fits in a keg-sized drum and is designed to “support eight adults for up to five years and it includes a water-filtration system, medicine and tool kits, a multi-fuel stove, a radio and a hand-crank generator with a photovoltaic battery pack and a strip-cell blanket. Not only that, but the skeleton of the barrel can be used to create a shelter.”

As Wired’s editors note, packing up the drum may take hours, which is not particularly useful in crisis zones when minutes can make the difference between life and death. However, alternative versions of the kit could be designed for quick set-up and quick packing. The drum could also be buried for later use if carrying it with were not an option.

Perhaps of more interest is the Grundig Eton Radio below. This device “includes AM/FM and weather-band frequencies, a two-way walkie-talkie channel, a flashlight, a siren, a beacon light and a cellphone charger.” According to Wired, the radio is also incredibly tough and only $150.

Patrick Philippe Meier

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