Batteries for emergency gear

I had just finished 24 hours of Wide Area Search training in the fall of 2014. With all the takeaways, there is one I want to pass on to everyone.

If you are a “prepper”, “survivalist”, Boy Scout or educated person, you will have some supplies stocked up in case of emergency. Volcano, Tornado, Hurricane, wild fire… all create the need for stuff. Some of that stuff should consist of several different flashlights and types (hand held, table top, 90 degree necks, hat mounted and “miner’s” style as well as emergency / weather radios, communications (FRS radios and handheld CB and handheld HAM).

I was reminded in this class that taking 3 flashlights, a FRS Radio and HAM radio all using different batteries adds up to lots of extra weight. I also was reminded that AAA (triple A) devices suck the juice and thus run down the batteries quickly.

Here is my personal, humble and yet amazingly accurate opinion, get all your flashlights (handheld, headset, camping and “kitchen drawer”) on one battery type.

Get all your radio’s (Emergency/weather, FRS, CB and HAM) on one battery type also.

I suggest getting them all in “AA”, (Double A).

Here is why, even in the biggest disasters that I have lived through and worked in, somewhere close had AA batteries. Devices that use AA are lighter than those that use C or D batteries. Most major players in the Emergency Management Field ( CERT’s, Convoy of Hope, Team Rubicon, the Red Cross…) have already figured this out and have spare or give out AA batteries.

Overall, the AA devices last long enough to get you through a “shift”. Flashlights are easily 85 lumens with just three AA batteries and have lasted my daughter through a total of three weeks of camping on just two sets of batteries with the 2nd set still having 1.4, 1.3 and 1.3 volts left.

Most devices can take or be converted to take AA batteries. My FRS radios have their rechargeable batteris in them, I will initially use the rechargeable ones, however, if they die and I don’t have power, I just pull them out and install four AA batteries.

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My handheld HAM radios needed a $6.50 adapetor to take AAA batteries, I could not find one that takes AA batteries. I decided to purchase the AAA adapters however. Once again, when the rechargeables are used up, grabbing the adaptor and six AAA batteries puts me back in the game.

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Here you see the standard battery on the left, the one for the AAA batteries in the middle and an extended life rechargeable on the right

Now I am not saying pitch your current radios and flashlights that don’t use a common battery, maybe barter them off or swap them to someone who 1.) does not have that item or 2.) who wants all their items in that battery type. 3.) Just keep what you have and add to it as you can. I do still use, carry in my pocket and have by the night stand several flashlights that take the CR123 batteries. However my BoB (Bug out Bag) and GOOD (Get out of Dodge) bag as well as my CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) bag all have flashlights and radios that use AA batteries.

Until we meet again, have a virus free week.

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