During 2019 voluntary power outages in California, and fires, exposed serious weaknesses in the cell infrastructure. Cell towers do have generators as power backups. Unfortunately, these backups are not all adequate and not all accessible to refuel.
The thought of facing a wildfire and a potential evacuation and losing cell service is a frightening prospect. Not knowing if you need to evacuate, when to evacuate and generally what is happening can be dangerous.
Most emergency radios have lights, maybe a siren, and the ability to charge a cell phone. They also have an AM/FM radio and possibly a weather band radio and should not be reliant on batteries (the VLES designs radio has an optional hand crank to power it). When cell service disappears it is local radio that will provide you with critical news and updates.
We are often asked what the most important items in an evacuation scenario are. At the top of our list is a hand crank emergency radio. Communication is critical.