Eton's hand-cranked Axis is your Hurricane Irene survival gadget

When you need a radio, LED flashlight, clock and even a way to charge your smartphone but have run out of batteries and the power is out, this American Red Cross-branded device could just save your life.

As I pack my "Go bag" in case I have to evacuate my home due to flooding from the triple whammy of  Hurricane Irene, storm surge and even tornadoes, I suddenly have a new found appreciation for anything hand-cranked. Eton's Axis is the gadget geek's emergency survival best friend, as it packs an AM/FM radio, clock, white LED flashlight and charges most smartphones and USB devices into a portable, hand-powered device.

This American Red Cross-branded all-in-one is tuned to seven NOAA weather channels by default so you can stay informed on the weather conditions, even after you've lost electricity. Alternatively, the device can also be powered with three AAAs or an AC Adapter, though they are not included with the device.

The problem with a battery-powered gadget is that you could burn through your supply of alkaline batteries very quickly, and in the case of a severe emergency, you just won't be able to hop into a store to buy some more. Thankfully, the Axis offers an alternative source of power, where one minute of manually winding the handle gives your phone another 30 seconds for a voice call, or 15 minutes of radio or flashlight.

Its other handy features include:

  • A red, flashing beacon light to alert others
  • A digital clock with alarm
  • A telescopic antenna for enhanced range and reception
  • A 3.5 mm headphone jack
  • Connectors with rubber gaskets/plugs to prevent moisture from seeping into the device

You can pick up an American Red Cross-approved Eton Axis hand-cranked radio, flash light and charger from your local Best Buy (though probably not in a store along the Eastern seaboard at this time), Brookstone or even from Amazon for approximately $69.99. Hopefully you won't have to put it to use but you'll be glad to have it in an emergency.

[Source: Eton's website, National Hurricane Center, ABC News, Wikipedia]