Neccessity is the mother of invention
We are in full swing on another hurricane season and when hurricanes come they bring along destruction on a wide scale. The large area effect becomes one of the biggest issues – too many problems in too large an area.
Inventions are often born of necessity, and natural disasters usually spur new inventive ideas. Perhaps you had an idea or created something to help you get through or cope with the recent storms. If so, feel free to call our intellectual property law office (Dallas, Fort Worth, and Houston) for patent advice.
There are some practical, and not so practical, inventions to help survive a hurricane. The first step is surviving the hurricane itself and many of the inventions are not terribly practical for the average person. However, after the hurricane, there are some extremely practical inventions that the average person can do to survive until help arrives.
Step 1 – Surviving the hurricane
Whereas there is no guaranteed way to survive a storm, there are some inventions made to help you do just that.
The Hurricane Bed
The patent application (patent issued 1985) describes a bed that is wind resistant and bolted to the floor. The patent does not describe anything about water proofing and with recent flooding in Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, one cannot help but to imagine a watery grave in a sardine box bolted to the ground.
The Survival Capsule
This capsule is round (for strength) and made to float and be self-righting. The capsules come in various sizes which can hold varying numbers of occupants and all are made to have over one hour of air supply. The capsules can also be fitted with additional air tanks, fresh water to drink, and are insulated for temperature control. The sphere can be tethered if desired and can also be equipped with a GPS system.
For those who live near the shoreline, this capsule is also great for tsunamis. This is a very viable system to survive a natural disaster, but from a practicality standpoint it is hard for every home to be equipped with one at this time.
A Gear Bag
The best way to prepare for a natural disaster is to have a bag packed and ready. Call it a bug out bag, or a “go” bag – it’s a great start to having something you can easily and quickly grab that is full of everything you might need for the near future.
Your go bag should be water proof. Yeti creates a bag called the Panga that is one excellent choice. Ziplocs or pouches like the “Magpul” can be used to store important documents, medicine, papers, and your cell phone.
After a hurricane, one of the biggest problems is access to clean drinking water. The water from a hurricane is not clean rain water. It has mixed with sewage and other contaminants and is now a toxic brew. It can potentially take days or weeks before the normal water supply is available. Though many rescuers bring in water bottles, it may take them time to reach you.
The LifeSaver Bottle is one of several products that can filter water for you. The company also makes larger jerry cans and other products, but a simple small bottle can let you filter up to 4,000 liters of water before needing a filter change. You can use the standing water around you to stay hydrated while being protected from viruses and bacteria. There are also products like the LifeStraw and the Lifestraw Go Water Bottle.
Another invention is the WaterBob. It fits inside a normal bathtub and can be filled with clean water prior to the disaster. It can hold 100 gallons of fresh drinking water.
LuminAid creates a solar inflatable light. When power is out for days and the batteries are all wet or dead, having something simple like a light at night can be a huge morale booster.
Sanitation is one of the largest problems after a disaster as sickness can easily effect a whole evacuation center. Rahim Bhimani created a disaster relief toilet that uses a bagging system to catch and dispose of waste. The unit can be folded down flat, easily assembled and transported.
An often overlooked, little talked about subject is female personal hygiene products. These can be impossible to find after a natural disaster. One option that can easily be packed into your go bag is a new type of “period proof” activewear. Thinx holds several patents on their organic, cotton products.
There are many items here to list, everything from freeze dried food options to portable solar stoves. The important thing is to grab enough food for a few days that is lightweight and easy to prepare.
It is true that one could survive for days without having something as simple as a go bag packed and ready. But there is a huge difference between barely making it out alive and living a little rough for a few days. A prepared kit can make the difference.
Thanks to modern inventors for thinking of such products and how they can help during natural disasters.
If you have an idea for an invention that you would like to discuss – Call our office today!
Author: Jeff Williams
Jeff Williams is an experienced mechanical engineer and lawyer that consults closely with clients in a strait forward and clear manner. He brings a particular set of strengths and unique perspectives to the firm.
Jeff received a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Arizona State University in 2005. He was an engineer for a number of years at a number of large corporations before pursuing his law degree. He graduated from Texas A&M University School of Law (formerly Texas Wesleyan University School of Law) with a J.D. in 2010. By combining his education and prior work experience into the field of intellectual property law, Jeff has developed key skills to fully assist clients.