The thing about emergencies is, they always catch you unprepared even if you have a contingency plan including a comprehensive emergency communications plan. You’d find yourself scrambling around trying to figure out the steps to take to deal with the emergency.
In the cold light of day, when faced with an actual emergency, the brain usually goes blank that even the best-laid plans would mean nothing at that point.
Contingency plans for dealing with emergencies as a result of a disaster must, out of necessity, include a communications plan. You’d have to be able to stay in contact with emergency services and the people you love, such as close friends and family members.
Essentially, the plan is all about knowing what needs to be done each step of the way. National, state and local authorities all have emergency planning guidelines for disasters. These are detailed and comprehensive, outlining the various strategies to be employed during emergencies including the chain of command, evacuating plan, relief centers, etc.
On a personal level though, your emergency communications plan must include most of the elements listed in the following sections.
Emergency Communications Plan; Surviving disasters with the right tools.
The checklist must be written in a simple format and should contain everything gadget or tool you required for communication during an emergency.
Endeavor to keep the list in a very accessible place if you wrote it down on a piece of paper. If you have a smartphone, you could create a document keep it in a folder that is easy to access. Smartphones are better than computers for this because you carry them around with you more often.
Items in the checklist should include the following:
Walkie talkies – Several walkie talkies are awesome for emergency communication. For emergency communications, a UHF/VHF two-way radio with a decent range is the best option.
If you need to contact people in faraway locations, the device must have a repeater capability to do this effectively. Several Baofeng, Yaesu, Motorola, etc., handhelds are very effective for this purpose.
Batteries – Ensure you have extra batteries handy. You don’t know where you might end up and how long the electricity grid is going to be down.
Ham radios – Portable ham radios should be on the list if you have a license to operate one. You must check them periodically to make sure they are operationally okay with the batteries in top shape.
Portable AM/SW/FM radios – You need this to stay informed about the situation in other areas. Sometimes, important news or information critical to your survival will be relayed via this medium.
The best radios for emergencies should be portable, easy to use and come with multiple power sources. The best options are units with solar and crank power options. With these, you don’t have to depend solely on batteries that could run down for power.
The ability to hook on to weather stations and automatic emergency alerts are also vital requirements of the radio you purchase.
These are some of the tools you need to communicate during an emergency. But the tools, especially the two-way radios, are useless if you don’t know how to use them or the frequencies to dial.
In essence, apart. from. having these gadgets, you must:
- Constantly update your knowledge on how to use them
- Encourage family members and close to do the same. If possible, train them yourself.
- Engage in frequent drills to test everybody’s preparedness
- Know most of the essential emergency frequencies for your county.
The last item is very important because the primary emergency frequencies are the first places to monitor for chatter related to the situation.
Usually, you can get this information on the county or state’s website. Simply navigate to the section dealing with emergency preparedness and look for the frequencies. There should be a bunch of them for,
- Security services
- Medical services
- Volunteers including guidelines on how to apply
- Evacuation center frequencies
- Command centers
- Marine frequencies
With this plan in place, when disaster strike, you may be confused initially like the rest of the population; but it won’t be for long. The simple but effective plan will galvanize you into taking the tight steps to confront the disaster.
At least, you and your closest friends and family won’t be at a loss on how to communicate with one another and who to contact to get the right information to deal with specific aspects of the emergency.
And with your AM/SW emergency radio, you could easily monitor the airwaves and see how other areas are holding up and of course, get the weather updates in real-time.