Communicating In a Disaster

How do you plan to communicate with your family, Emergency Response Team, and EMS if cell phones and land lines go down? Having a reliable method to communicate with your family, first responders and CERT team during a disaster is essential.

When All Else Fails 1

Cell phones and land lines are not reliable forms of communication in disasters. In the 2018 Paradise California fire at least 88 people were killed. Emergency alert phone calls failed to reach two-thirds of the population. Fewer than 6,200 of the 27,000 who live in the ridge-top community received an alert. Landlines and power lines burned, high speed fiber-optic cables melted, and cell towers lacked sufficient back-up power. Perhaps your CERT Team uses Fire Department 800 MHz radios, or your Red Cross chapter has a satellite phone to communicate. These are great tools, but do not count on them. When the SHTF you need to have a way of contacting your family, CERT team and EMS in the absence of internet and cell phones. When the SHTF it is highly likely your agency won't have enough radios to go around and your cache of radios will be confiscated to be given to reserve firefighters. You and your team should be self-reliant and have a way to communicate without relying on your served agency. It may be fun and cool to use government 800 MHz radios when all is calm, but during disasters don't count on these tools being available. Your job as a civilian responder is to supplement the government’s response capabilities, and one of the best resources available to you is GMRS and Amateur Radio. Having a two-way radio of your own and knowing how to use it gives you access to other resources during a disaster. Firefighters have a cool job with access to cool equipment and skills, but so do you! During a disaster you may be isolated and on your own. In such a situation if you are able to be self-reliant and provide first aid and communication for yourself, family, neighbors, and team you will be a tremendous asset.