Hurricane season is in full swing, and although we haven’t had any worrisome disturbances hit the Texas coast, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared.
We’ve had our fair share of pretty tough weather in the Houston area, and now that our family has moved closer to the bay, of course, hurricanes are definitely a threat. When Hurricane Rita came in 2005, and Hurricane Ike came through in 2008, this area was affected by the storms.
If you’re in a hurricane zone, all I can advise is to be prepared — and don’t rely on your cell phones! I’m so glad we now have the Motorola Talkabouts. We will never have to go through what we went through during Hurricane Ike again. (I won’t even get into the major fail of an evacuation Houston had to endure for Hurricane Rita.)
In 2008, we were living in Katy in a home that wasn’t very stable, so we decided to evacuate our home and head across Houston my grandparents house on the East side of town. The eye of the storm traveled directly over my grandparent’s house (very minimal damage, but the rest of the neighborhood wasn’t so fortunate), and when it was over, we decided to head back home shortly after to avoid the traffic and to assess the damage at our home.
What should have been about an hour drive turned into about five hours. My husband and I were in two separate vehicles, and somehow, we ended up getting split up on the road. We had no means of communication because the cell phone service was out. The kids were hungry, there was no where to stop and let them eat or go to the bathroom, and it was just a miserable time in the car. We sat in traffic for most of the time, until we were rerouted into a very sketchy neighborhood. My kids and I were scared out of our minds with boxes of important paperwork and valuables in the car. Just hearing my husband’s voice would have been great.
Now, if we ever find ourselves in a situation like that again, we have a reliable and high quality means of communication. We have our Motorola Talkabouts ready to go in one of our hurricane preparedness boxes in case we need to bug out!
The website, and the package, says that there is a 35 mile range depending on conditions, however, we tried them out and we found that on a clear day in a neighborhood, they worked for communication for about a 1.3 miles. That’s actually not bad considering all of the trees, houses, electrical, and other interferences. We feel like, in an emergency situation with no electricity or cell service, this range will be much, much wider!
The communication range quoted is calculated based on an unobstructed line of sight test under optimum conditions. Actual range will vary depending on terrain and conditions, and is often less than the maximum possible. Your actual range will be limited by several factors including, but not limited to: terrain, weather conditions, electromagnetic interference, and obstructions.
We have the Motorola Talkabout MT350R set which includes:
• 2 radios
• 2 NiMH rechargable battery packs
• 2 belt clips
• 1 Y cable wall adapter with 2 mini-USB connectors
• 1 Emergency Preparedness checklist sheet
• 1 user guide
• 1 accessories sheet
• Available in orange
The Talkabouts are also great to use during the events I coordinate! It’s so much easier than trying to get service on our cell phones or running our batteries down. Try using them on long trips as well. Save your cell phone battery and minutes. When my hubby and I were in college and after we first got married, we used to use cheap-o walkie talkies to chat back and forth with when we’d drive down the road! It was a lot more fun than dealing with phones.
I absolutely LOVE the features of the Talkabout. Here are a few of my favorite features:
- Interchangeable Batteries – This has to be my favorite feature. Not only does it come with a NiMH battery pack, but once those die, you can take them out and use 3 AA batteries if you do not have a charging source.
- Flashlight- The MT350S comes with a built-in flashlight on the bottom, which is great in a lights-out emergency situation.
- Battery Life – The battery life is amazing. If you need to have them on constantly, the alkaline battery life is 15 hours, and the NiMH life is 10 hours, however, we’ve had them sitting with the NiMH batteries not on the charger, for several weeks, and when I turned them on, there are still 2 out of 3 bars left in the battery life. If you’re only using them when needed in an emergency situation, it’s fantastic. The charger comes with 2 mini-USB connectors so that you can charge them both at the same time!
- Silent Signals with VibraCall – Do you ever put your phone on vibrate? You can do the same with the MT350S. This way, you don’t have to disturb those around you (like if you’re hunting or in a meeting), and if you’re in a loud setting (like my events), you can feel the vibrations rather than straining to hear the sound when it’s loud.
- Headset Communication – I love that you can plug a Motorola headset into this, but a really cool feature is that you can purchase a headset with mic and use this as a speaker phone and a completely hands free device.
- NOAA Weather Channels – This is a really good feature. There’s no need to carry around a clunky radio when you have the weather service built into your walkie talkie!
- Extremely Durable – I love that my husband and I can use these for emergencies or fun, and we can even hand them over to the kids to play in the back yard without worrying about them tearing them up.
Child SAFETY Word of advice (from experience): If you allow your little ones to play with walkie talkies, make sure they know how to use them safely. You never know who is in the area with a walkie talkie scanning the channels for someone to talk to. In our situation, there was a little boy, younger than ours who happened upon my boys while they were playing. He gave my boys a LOT of information, including his name, age, school, and address. We have used that as a lesson on stranger danger.
Disclosure: I was given a pair of Motorola Talkabout MT350R for review purposed. All opinions are my own. I was not compensated for this post.