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Survival Sidekick might just save your life

- July 2nd, 2014

 RCEP100FL_ALT3_MED

Today, in a suburb just outside Minneapolis, Bob Renning, a Good Samaritan, somehow found the strength to pry open the door of Michael Johannes’ burning Chevrolet TrailBlazer and saved him from certain death.  Now after seeing the footage at Canoe cNews, it made me rethink the usefulness of features on today’s emergency gadgets that we think we’ll never use, but in actual fact could one day save our life.

One such feature is the glass breaker found on the new Champ Survival Sidekick 8-in-1 (Emergency Preparedness) Multitool by Voxx Accessories. Johannes had mentioned that he was unable to get out of his vehicle as the electrical system was disabled and he couldn’t unlock the door. And without his good fortune that someone like Renning just happened to be around, he may not be alive right now to tell about it.

The Survival Sidekick 8-in-1 actually looks like a very large flashlight, and a flashlight it is. It features three LEDs that can keep shining brightly for up to five consecutive hours.

Vox 8 Crank

In the event the batteries are drained another feature of this incredible gadget is its hand-crank charging capability. If you crank the dynamo arm at about 120RPMs you can get up to three more minutes of flashlight power for every minute you hand-crank.

The fourth feature, again ideal in the case of emergency, is its distress red signal light that will flash on and off in the event that your vehicle is in trouble.  And to keep it in one place so you don’t have to hold on to it, the flashlight’s head also has, four built in magnets (feature #5), so you can stick it to the hood or the roof of your car in the event of emergency.

Plus, in the event that you’re lost in parts unknown, its sixth feature, a built-in compass, can come in pretty handy and help guide you in the right direction.

You’ll find feature #7 behind a little red door on its side. You get not one, but two USB charging ports – one standard and one micro USB port, allowing you to get a little extra juice, but not a full charge for your iPhone, iPod and most Android phones, but not power hungry devices like an iPad. The built-in 3.7V Lithium-ion polymer battery has a 550mAh capacity and outputs 5V 500mA.

And last but not least, #8,  is another potential life-saver – a built-in seatbelt cutter, which can help you, cut through the belt in the event your seatbelt mechanism won’t disengage. It can also be handy to cut through rope.

After driving for decades, you’d never think that your vehicle would catch on fire — but it can happen. And after watching the footage of Johannes’ burning SUV, I have a lot more respect for these little gadgets that who knows one day, might make the difference between life and death.

On that note, a device like the Champ Survival Sidekick is a must-have for your car. But for something like this to be useful it would likely need to be stored not in the trunk or hatch, but within arms reach of the driver. So it’s important to note that this model is in fact almost 11 inches in length and might be a little too long to easily store in your car’s glove box.  Another thing to consider is the glass breaker’s ability to break glass may be dependent on the type of glass and your individual circumstances.

The Champ Survival Sidekick (RCEP100FL) comes in black or white, both with red trim and retails for $24.95. It comes with a one-year warranty and includes a USB to micro cable and a built-in wrist loop. It’s available online from the VOXX store.

Vox 10

Optionally, it’s also available as a 10-in-1 tool (RCEP200FLR) for $49.99 that has all of the same features plus a siren and an AM/FM/ NOAA Weather radio. You can find this model also at the VOXX Store as well as in Canada at London Drugs.

Rating: 4.75 / 5

Photos  & Video Courtesy Voxx International.

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Greg Gazin is the Real Canadian Gadget Guy.

Follow me on Twitter @gadgetgreg or Empire Avenue (e)GADGET1.

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