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Tech to Help Protect Your Home from Natural Disasters

Emergency preparedness graphic, to illustrate tech to help protect your home from natural disasters

With severe weather happening more and more every year, it’s time to get smart about being prepared. Read on for tech to help to protect your home from natural disasters, rounded up by our resident tech expert.

Given the severe (sometimes catastrophic) weather events of the past few years—including floods, wildfires and extreme temperatures—chances are it will be a case of when, not if, you will be impacted.

With this in mind, emergency preparedness is critical, to help protect your family and your home against any kind of disaster, hazard or environmental event.

First Things First: The Basics

Through its handy Get Prepared resource site, Public Safety Canada says to make and practice an evacuation plan, and have an emergency kit ready at all times, which includes candles/flashlights, bottled water, non-perishable food, first-aid kits, medications and batteries. If you don’t have an emergency kit prepared, spend a weekend gathering the items and assembling your stash in an airtight, waterproof container. It might take a day or two, but the peace of mind is unparalleled.

Consider How Tech Can Help With Emergency Preparedness

There are many tech products out there that can play a role in protecting your home from natural disasters. From helpful apps to smart gadgets to have on hand, keep reading to be even more prepared for an environmental crisis.


Proactively download these apps to your mobile phone, in the event you need them during a severe weather incident. (In fact, keep in mind you may not have Wi-Fi or cellular service to download these apps during an event.)

  • Canadian Red Cross
  • The Canadian Red Cross offers a couple of free apps, including a First Aid and Be Ready app for iPhone and Android. Each one includes checklists, advice during emergency situations (such as handling food and water during power outages), quizzes, signing up for emergency notifications, and more. Fully integrated with 911, you can call emergency services from the app at any time, plus there are videos and animations to help you sharpen your first aid skills (especially handy if you’re a visual learner). Preloaded content within these apps mean you have instant access to all safety information at any time, even without reception or an internet connection.

USA Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

  • While more for US residents than Canadians, there are some handy emergency tips available in the official FEMA app, which includes information for all kinds of disasters: a customizable emergency kit checklist, emergency family plan and reminders, and safety tips for more than 20 types of disasters (including fires, flooding, hurricanes, snowstorms, tornadoes, volcanoes and more).

Pro tip: Don’t forget you can call 911 from your mobile phone—even if you don’t have an active mobile plan! It will work. As such, it’s not a bad idea to keep an old and deactivated phone in your emergency kit or vehicle’s glove compartment (but make sure it’s charged up, see below).

In the event you have power and Wi-Fi but no cellular, there are apps that let you make video and audio calls for help, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, Google Duo, FaceTime, TextNow and others.


Some smart consumer electronics products could also be part of your emergency preparedness.

Waterproof Smartphone

Many of today’s smartphones are waterproof. This one device can be your lifeline during a major weather incident, and so make sure your phone—or one you’re looking to upgrade to this year—has an “IP68” rating (“Ingress Protection”), which means the phone can withstand dust, dirt and sand, and can be submerged in water for up to 30 minutes.

If your phone isn’t waterproof, consider having a couple of thick Ziploc bags as part of your emergency kit to seal your phone in.

Portable Power

A portable battery booster (sometimes called a power bank) is also a smart idea, in case you’ll be away from an AC outlet for a while, or if the power goes out in your area. As such, make sure these back-up batteries are also charged up for when you need them.

Prices start at about $20 for a decent power bank, but keep in mind the higher the milliamp (mAh), the more times it can charge up a smartphone. Some have more than one USB port to plug into, in case you want to juice up two phones simultaneously or perhaps a phone and a tablet or wireless earbuds, etc.

If needed, use your car’s USB port or 12-volt port (where you used to find a cigarette lighter) to charge up your devices in the event of a power outage, but unplug them whenever you turn the car off, so it won’t drain the vehicle’s battery.

Anker, a leading portable battery company, also has their line of Power Station-branded batteries and accessories. These are essentially small power generators, often with emergency lighting and optional solar-powered attachments, that can charge up or run virtually any device during an emergency (or when off the grid, such as when camping or RVing). They’re also ideal for those who live in a condo or apartment, when a gas generator is not an option, and can also power lights, laptops, CPAP machines, small appliances and medical equipment.

The Anker 521 Portable Power Station, for example, offers two three-prong AC outlets, a car socket and multiple USB ports.

Vehicle Support

Another prudent product is the MotoMaster Eliminator 1000A Booster Pack with Air Compressor, a Canadian Tire exclusive that can jump-start your car’s dead battery in the event of an emergency, an integrated air compressor to inflate a flat tire, USB and 12-volt ports for charging devices and an LED light.

Hand-Crank Solar Radio

Finally, consider a hand-crank and solar-powered radio, like the Etón FRX3+ Multi-Powered Weather Alert Radio, which features an AM/FM (digital radio), all 7 NOAA (and Environment Canada) weather bands and an alert function that broadcasts emergency weather alerts. The hand turbine and small solar panel keeps it charged during emergencies, plus it takes batteries, too. The FRX3+ also houses a USB port to charge a smartphone, LED flashlight, emergency red LED flashing beacon, alarm clock, headphone jack, and more.

a man carrying two children

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