Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Communications In An Emergency

Communications In An Emergency

By Jalapeno Gal77

hurricaneCommunications is any emergency can play an important part in survival.  Communication does not always mean that you are talking to another person.  It can also be a radio that updates you on whether or what is happening during a natural disaster in your area.  In this article we will discuss different ways to communicate and how they can be useful.

Weather Radios:

Local radios will broadcast local weather and update you on the current weather conditions in your area.  They can let you know when and in what areas help will come.  Radio personalities can inform you where you can go for shelter, food and supplies, open stores, or closed roads.

When choosing a type or multiple types of communications you should consider the following;
  • It should be easy to operate and have good range.
  • Be able to operate off grid or if electrical lines are down.
  • Be protected against interference.
There are many different kinds of radios to choose from.  An emergency weather radio is designed to bring you emergency broadcasts.  Here are a few you can look into;

Telephones are usually the first thing we grab in an emergency.  Especially if we lose power.  The first person I call is the electric company.  So make sure and program them in your cell phone, because if you lose electricity you may not be able to look them up.  You should also have a phone book on hand in case your cell phone is dead or your land line doesn’t work.  People that have land lines often use cordless phones which require electricity. If you use a land line make sure and have an older phone on hand.

Store a car phone charger for cell phones too.  Your car can be used as a back up charger if the power is down.

Staying connected to those you love in an emergency can do a lot for your mood and help you get through it without worry.

CB Radios:

CB radios can be very affordable and you don’t need a license to have or operate one.  A general price range for a mobile mount is $50-$150, and up to $250 for a handheld portable AM/single band CB radio.  Mobile mounts can be used off of your car’s 12v electrical system or a small motorcycle battery.  Their range can be anywhere from 1-15 miles.

There can be some disadvantages to CB radios as well.  Transmission can leak into other electronic devices.  Antennas can be very large for home bases or vehicles.  Smaller antennas can be bought, but tend to drastically reduce the CB range.

Amateur Radio’s AKA Ham Radio’s:

These two-way radios are one of the most popular ways to communicate.  Their operators are known as Hams.  Amateur radios are also competitively priced, from $60 to several thousand dollars.  To use these radios in a Non-Emergency, one must be licensed by the FCC, by passing one or more written exams.  There is a cost, around $15, for processing the license through the ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League).  The license is good for ten years, and can be renewed for a small fee, around $15.  There is also no age requirement.  As an Amateur Radio operator, one can use many frequencies and modes (AM, FM, SSB, packet (so you can send information using a computer), and many more.  Different licenses have different frequencies and modes available to the licensee.

HAM frequencies work much better than CB, Walkie Talkie, FRS, GMRS, and other commercial radio types.  With certain small HAM radios, it is easily possible to transmit around the world!   This can be critical, in winter when you need to know road conditions, or in a natural disaster.  For more information, contact a local HAM, or even the Amateur Radio Relay League (
Expect to pay $60-$300 for a typical radio.

Preparing for an emergency takes research and practice, but in the long run will save your life.  These are a few ways you can set up communications for your household.  Please feel free to leave your knowledge and experience in our comments section below.  Your experience with these different types of communications may help another person to prepare their emergency communications capabilities.

Keepin It Spicy,
Jalapeño Gal