ARMED WITH A SHRIEK:
Travelers feeling the need for an emergency alarm to summon help or scare away threatening animals or humans have used everything from compressed-air horns to loud metal whistles. For really piercing protection, consider the powerful little battery-powered BASU ealarm. Think of it as a sound grenade that sends out a deafening siren when you pull out the pin inserted in one end of the device. A plastic loop extending from the pin provides a firm grip and secures the ealarm to a key ring, belt loop or any strap via an included metal carabiner. The device’s cheery color choices and diminutive size (2.79 inches by 1.22 inches by .51 inches deep), bely its fierceness. Yank out the pin, and an ear-splittingly shrill 120-decibel siren will accost anyone or anything in your path — and likely leave your own eardrums ringing even after you have silenced the alarm by plugging the pin back into its slot. But wait, there’s an even more aggressive ealarm — the 130-decibel, slightly longer ealarm Plus. The extra length accommodates an integrated hook at the end opposite the “grenade” pin, adding the option of a tripwire alarm. Secure the hook (rope not included) to a stationary object — say, a metal fence post or tree trunk or bike rack — and clasp the carabiner at the armed end to your backpack or luggage handle or bike frame. If anyone tugs on your stuff, they’ll get an instant earful — and alert you and everybody in the area. Both e-alarm models are powered by two pre-installed CR1632 batteries. These provide 30 minutes total siren power. You decide whether the situation calls for a brief blast or a long, tortuous shriek. The sound and cadence of the siren will begin to weaken as the battery runs low, a signal to replace the device. Although it’s possible to pry open an ealarm with a sharp knife and replace the batteries, loosening the casing will free the pin, triggering the alarm (ouch, I tried it). The manufacturer strongly discourages tinkering, and my throbbing eardrums agree.