Pamela Chan, Contributor
“What are the chances that this could happen to me?” This is what I ask myself when I read a story about a family whose car turned upside down in a lake, sliding off an icing road in the BC interior or closer to home in an area populated with water filled ditches. “It could happen”, I tell myself. Even if I never find myself in that type of situation, I might find that I need a flashlight, an emergency light or a compass. Our house could lose power and I might need to summon up 5 – 15% of power to charge-up my phone.
The Survival Sidekick emergency device has multiple built-in functions that can help in a variety of circumstances. Looking at the list of features, I knew that I wanted to try it.
What You Get
The Survival Sidekick features the following 8 emergency tools:
- distress light
- magnetic base
- glass breaker
- seatbelt cutter
- hand-crank charging
- USB connection
Flashlight/Distress Light/Magnetic Base
Every now and then there is a news story about travellers in a vehicle who become lost while traveling a smaller connecting road in the Pacific Northwest. In some cases cell phone connections aren’t available and GPS devices don’t work. This is when it would be very handy to have a compass.
When a car breaks down and help is needed – especially in poor weather conditions – an emergency light with a magnetic base that can help the light to stand on the car would be very useful. I have also had a car break down in the middle of a busy road near Kitts beach. We put the trunk of the car up to let people know that our car was stalled. Unfortunately we didn’t have an emergency triangle. A flashing red light would have helped.
NOTE: In the video included at the end of this post, you will see that a woman stands outside her car in the dark, while using the flashing red light. I have heard a tip that you should make your situation known, but stay in your car with the doors locked and wait for emergency personnel to come.
Ideally I would be able to take the Survival Sidekick to a junk yard with old cars and try it on a car window. Unfortunately this option wasn’t available. The next best option for me was to wrap a jar in a towel and try the glass breaker on the base, where the glass is thicker. This glass isn’t as thick as car glass, but it allowed me to feel what it was like to hit the glass breaker against glass. Using it on a car window, I would want to keep hitting the metal head in the same spot to make a chip. The detailed instructions that come with the Survival Sidekick explain how to use the breaker on car windows and how you can use it on different types of windows.
I sometimes like to drive around Pitt Meadows with my two young children as we go to a lake or river for a walk. At certain times of the year the ditches can be full of water. Having a glass breaker in the car does offer some peace of mind.
An emergency device that goes hand-in-hand with the glass breaker is a seatbelt cutter. If you do find yourself in a submerged car, you might not be able to get out of your seatbelt. Looking at the cutter on this device, I assumed that it must work but I wanted to try it for myself. Fortunately I had a backpack that was falling apart and was not savable. I took the cutter and with just a few tugs, I cut through the straps. The blades on this cutter are VERY sharp.
USB Connection/Hand-Crank Charging
When I received the Survival Sidekick, I plugged it into my desktop using the USB connection. The instructions suggest that the initial charge will take 3 hours. The crank is available so that you can charge up the device if it runs out of charge while the power is out. You can also use the USB cord to transfer a charge from the device to a phone; however, the device has to be charged in order for this to be possible. It can provide anywhere from 5 – 15% charge to your phone.
It is very important that you read through all of the instructions when you purchase your Survival Sidekick. Make sure that any family member who might use the device also reads through and understands the instructions. For example, if your device runs out of charge and you do not have access to a power source, you will need to disconnect your phone, charge the device with the hand crank and then reconnect your phone.
When I showed the Survival Sidekick to a family member, the first thing that he noticed was that the device has the ability to charge a phone. Imagine how useful that would be after a natural disaster when power is out everywhere and there is nowhere that you can go to charge your phone or any other device you might need. I think the Survival Sidekick would make a perfect gift – or gift to yourself. I have received these types of gifts for my birthday or Christmas and have always appreciated being given something that is so very useful.
Disclosure: I received a sample of a product to facilitate my review. No other compensation was provided and all views and opinions stated on this post are 100% my own.