Disaster Communication Preparedness

Disaster communication is important for our survival. There is no way for us to know exactly when or where a disaster can strike. Advanced technologies can help us predict these occurrences but try as we might, nature seems intent on finding ways to surprise the unsuspecting population.

Just think of the tsunamis, typhoons, and earthquakes that we have witnessed in recent years. As preppers, we should always be ready for anything that could happen to our nation, our homes and our families. And we should not only be talking about natural disasters but also the unfortunate incidents caused by fellow human beings.

Bottom line, we should be prepared for anything that might come our way. This is not to paint a dim picture of the future, but there is no other way to increase our chances of survival than to have a plan of action for any disaster that may strike.

Here are some ways to stay in touch with your family and the rest of your community or to get help when worse comes to worse.

1. Cellphones/Smartphones: Your Primary Disaster Communication Device 

iphone

We will start with cellphones, because almost everyone has one. While cell networks are often overwhelmed during a disaster, they still might help you make contact.

If your initial attempts to make a call fail, try texting or using your phones data plan to make contact.

As we’ve seen in past disasters, texting and even social media apps can sometimes work, even when voice doesn’t. A text message takes a lot less bandwidth than a phone call, so during a disaster this might be your best bet for making contact.

To read the whole article, click here.

2. Think of alternate disaster communication. 

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From offthegridnews.com: Make sure your family knows which method of communication will be used, and in what order. For example, the first line of communication is cell phone, followed by text, followed by….you get the point. This will ensure family members know how – and more importantly where – to look for emergency messages from loved ones. Also, think of alternate communications, unconventional methods of communicating with loved ones, such as:

Text: Text messages require far less bandwidth than phone calls, and even when the ominous “all circuits are busy” recording comes on, texts will still work as they operate on a parallel network to cell phones.

Email: Don’t discount sending e-mails during emergency situations as a valid method of communication. Email servers are located globally, and it’s unlikely they will all be dead at the same time. But where do you get internet access if cell phone service is dead? Oftentimes, WiFi service will still be up and running, since the cables used for hard wired Internet operate on different networks than cell phones. For most WiFi, you don’t even need to be in the building to access the service.

3. Phone Booths: Quick and Easy Disaster Communication

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Yes, they still exist, and most of them are on landlines, which are inherently reliable; most landlines have been operational for nigh on 80 years. There are even apps online that tell you where phone booths are located. Make sure you carry change for that purpose. Read more.

4. Satellite Phones: The Ultimate Disaster Communication Device? 

satelitephone

While on the expensive side, during a natural disaster or crisis, having a satellite phone just might save your life.

Satellite phones offer a couple of advantages during a disaster. First, they don’t rely on local cell networks, so they’re less likely to be affected by an increase in call volume. Second, even if the entire local cell network goes down, your satellite phone is still going to be operational.

Recently I’ve been testing the SPOT Global Sat Phone , and I’ve been really impressed with its ability to call from even the remotest areas of the backcountry. In areas where my cell phone has zero reception, my SPOT phone is able to call out to anywhere in the world. 

Click here for the full post.

5. Social Media: the Disaster Communication Wild Card 

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New Forms of “Real Time” Communication Emerging

In recent years, the use of social media like FaceBook, Twitter, and web-based connections as a method of real-time disaster communication has skyrocketed. When these systems are up and available to both victims and responders, the ability to communicate assistance, needs, resources, emergency instructions, and “real-time” situational ground reports is superior to nearly all forms of information gathering.

One of the greatest tools that have emerged this decade is Ushahidi, which allows the mapping and tracking of a myriad of resources, needs, and the emergency status of both victims and responders. Created by spontaneous, international, all-volunteer programming teams, Ushahidi’s use for mapping in recent earthquakes (such as Haiti, New Zealand, and Japan) has proven to be invaluable in ways unimaginable only a few years ago. Look for these and many other social media toolsets to change the landscape of disaster information gathering in the months and years ahead.

To see more, click here.

6. Preppers Choice for Disaster Communication: the CB Radio

CB Radio

According to Offgridsurvival:

I know, you’re probably picturing big rig trucks or bad movies from the 1980’s; but the fact is, the C.B. Radio can be an important part of your emergency communications arsenal. I recommend having one in your vehicle, having a handheld one in your bugout bag, and having a base station at home.

During a localized disaster, you should be able to make contact within a 20 – 30 mile radius. This makes the CB Radio a great way to coordinate with friends and family during localized disasters.

7. HAM Radio, the Tried and True Disaster Communication Device

HAM-Radio

The HAM radio has played an integral role in every disaster this nation has faced for over 100 years. HAM will remain functional even when modern communication devices become worthless. The seemingly old-fashioned devices are extremely reliable and allow users to connect with the outside world when Internet access, cell towers, and phone land lines are no longer functional.

CB Channel  Frequencies

Channel 1        26.965 MHz

Channel 2        26.975 MHz

Channel 3        26.985 MHz    Prepper CB Network (AM)

Channel 4        27.005 MHz    The American Pepper’s Network

Channel 5        27.015 MHz

Channel 6        27.025 MHz

Channel 7        27.035 MHz

Channel 8        27.055 MHz

Channel 9        27.065 MHz    REACT Channel – Emergency CB radio use

Channel 10      27.075 MHz

Channel 11      27.085 MHz

Channel 12      27.105 MHz

Channel 13      27.115 MHz    Popular with campers, RV drivers, and boaters

Channel 14      27.125 MHz    Federal Motor Coach Association

Channel 15      27.135 MHz    Popular with California truck drivers

Channel 16      27.155 MHz    Popular with ATV clubs

Channel 17      27.165 MHz    Also popular with California tractor-trailer drivers

Channel 18      27.175 MHz

Channel 19      27.185 MHz    Primary truck driver chat channel

Channel 20      27.205 MHz

Channel 21      27.215 MHz

Channel 22      27.225 MHz

Channel 23      27.255 MHz

Channel 24      27.235 MHz

Channel 25      27.245 MHz

Channel 26      27.265 MHz

Channel 27      27.275 MHz

Channel 28      27.285 MHz

Channel 29      27.295 MHz

Channel 30      27.305 MHz

Channel 31      27.315 MHz

Channel 32      27.325 MHz

Channel 33      27.335 MHz

Channel 34      27.345 MHz

Channel 35      27.355 MHz    Australian channel

Channel 36      27.365 MHz

Channel 37      27.375 MHz    Prepper 37 channel

Channel 38      27.385 MHz

Channel 39      27.395 MHz

Channel 40      27.405 MHz

Prepper Freeband and CB Radio Frequencies

CB 3 (AM) 26.9850MHz Prepper Channel

CB 36(USB) 27.3650MHz Survivalist Channel

CB 37 (USB) 27.3750MHz    Prepper CB Network – AM

Freeband(USB) 27.3680MHz Survivalist Network

Freeband(USB) 27.3780MHz Prepper Channel

Freeband(USB) 27.4250MHz Survivalist Network

For the full list of frequencies, click here.

8. Serval Mesh – Promising New Disaster Communication Method 

isolated

According to The Serval Project:

Mobile phones normally can’t be used when cellular networks fail, for example during a disaster. This means that millions of vulnerable people around the world are deprived of the ability to communicate, when they need it most.

We have spent the past four years working with the New Zealand Red Cross to create a solution. We call it the Serval Mesh, and it is free software that allows smart-phones to communicate, even in the face of catastrophic failure of cellular networks.

It works by using your phone’s Wi-Fi to communicate with other phones on the same network. Or even by forming impromptu networks consisting only of mobile phones. Mesh communications is an appropriate technology for complementing cellular networks. Think of it like two-way radio or CB radio that has been propelled into the 21st century. For long-range communications you will still need to make use of cellular or fixed telephone networks or the internet.

This software allows you to easily make private phone calls, send secure text messages and share files in caves, in subways, in the Outback, in Australia or Africa, in Europe or the United States — even when cellular networks fail or are unavailable.

You can also keep using your existing phone number on the mesh, which is really important in a disaster when people are trying to get back in contact with each other.

9. Preparation: Still the Best Disaster Communication Solution

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Before a Disaster: How to Prepare Your Home and Mobile Device

Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers in your cell phone and in or near your home phone.

Keep charged batteries and car-phone chargers available for back-up power for your cell phone.

If you have a traditional landline (non-broadband or VOIP) phone, keep at least one non-cordless phone in your home because if it will work even if you lose power..

Prepare a family contact sheet.  This should include at least one out-of-town contact that may be better able to reach family members in an emergency.

Program “In Case of Emergency” (ICE) contacts into your cell phone so emergency personnel can contact those people for you if you are unable to use your phone.  Let your ICE contacts know that they are programmed into your phone and inform them of any medical issues or other special needs you may have.

If you are evacuated and have call-forwarding on your home phone, forward your home phone number to your cell phone number.

If you do not have a cell phone, keep a prepaid phone card to use if needed during or after a disaster.

Have a battery-powered radio or television available (with spare batteries).

Subscribe to text alert services from local or state governments to receive alerts in the event of a disaster.  Parents should sign up for their school district emergency alert system.

To see the whole article, click here.

Tips from FEMA

Here is the link to the video on YouTube.

About the author

Urban Survival Times Contributer

At Urban Survival Times our mission is to be the best survival blog providing a vast array of knowledge, tactics, and skills in the survival and preparedness fields, to any and all who wish to become more prepared for whatever may come.

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