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Originally Posted On: https://www.easternprepping.com/communication-when-in-an-emergency-situation/
Disasters can be scary, and nobody would ever wish for something terrible to happen. Unfortunately, catastrophic situations occur whether you like it or not. The disaster can be caused by nature like earthquakes or by humans like a terrorist attack. If you find yourself in the crisis, you need to reach out to the emergency services or possibly your loved ones.
Preparing for disasters and an emergency situation is vital because you will be able to ask for help. You should always have the right devices for more accessible communication. You should have several modes of communication because at times the standard communication channels might fail when a catastrophe hits. This article will guide you on the different Types of Communication When in an Emergency situation
Almost every household has a phone, and thus when an emergency situation happens, you can easily reach out the emergency response services. The good thing about cellphones is you can access many emergency apps. Through these apps, you have an opportunity to also receive essential alerts regarding the emergency. You should know that during these hard times the calls center is engaged and overloaded, so if you are not able to reach out to the emergency center or family member, you should leave a text message, or even an email.
This method of communication is modern and reliable. The only limitation that cellphones have is that some disasters will make cell towers unusable. Or possibly no signal where you are located, thus making it hard to communicate. When a call is not working during an emergency disaster always resort to a text message. Text messages take up less bandwidth and are easier to get through the cellphone networks.
Emails have been used as a method of communication since a long time ago and are still reliable to date. With emerging means of communication like Whats-app, Facebook and emails can be used to Communication When in an Emergency situation.
During an emergency, you can consider sending an email to the disaster response team. You can also communicate with your loved ones using emails. In case you are not in a position to speak, you will write an email to the concerned parties. The best thing about using an email as a method of communication is that you can send one single email to many people. The only problem that you can face when sending emails in times of emergency the signals may be lost, or the power may fail.
Ham radios are used to communicate across streets, towns or even the entire world. This type of radio also has the ability to contact the ISS (International Space Station) and can be used for communication when in an Emergency situation to communicate across the earth. If you think about it, Ham Radio is the original social media platform.
For you to acquire this device, you must be given a license. To get a Ham radio license you must pass a test which many classes are available. In times of crisis, Amateur radio is used for communication if the wireline and cell phones have failed. Ham Radio can be used to inform the people on how a crisis is being handled, what current emergency situations are at hand and precautions being taken.
One advantage of using ham radios is that they can be used in the absence of power outages (if you have a separate source of power) and signals. The only limitation that it has is, you must have a license to operate, and only a few people have it. The frequency privileges depend on the bandwidth. A ham with a bandwidth of 160, 60, and 30 meters have all amateur opportunities.
The Family Radio Service (FRS) Two-Way Radio
The Family Radio Service was authorized to be used in the US since 1996. This type of communication operates like the old walkies-talkie because only one person can speak at a time. These radios come with a beep that signals you to talk. This radio is channeled to use the frequencies between 462-467 MHz.
To acquire one, you do not have to obtain a license. This radio is particularly useful in facilitating short group communication. This device is beneficial for communication, especially during the disasters when the cellular signal is low. Typically, most manufacturers say that FRS radios can cover a maximum range of two miles.
The limitation of using FRS only a few people use it and the amount of power for a handheld FRS radio. FCC guidelines says, “The usual range of an FRS device on channels 8-14 is less than one-half mile, but longer range communications can be achieve on channels 1-7 and 15-22 depending on conditions.”
The General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) is similar to FRS radio. To operate this radio, you must acquire a license with the FCC. You must pay $70 dollars if you want to obtain a personal permit. This license does not require a test. The license is good for 10 years.
These GMRS units can support up to 50 watts of power with a base station as per the FCC. While some GRMS handhelds are 4-watt. Fixed-base stations can handle 15-50 watts. When communicating with the FRS channels, they are restricted to use 5 watts. GRMS handhelds are allowed to include a removable antenna or be used with an external antenna, thus giving your handheld the ability to have better range with a stationary external antenna. GRMS radios can be extremely helpful, especially when you have an emergency.
They can be an excellent option to ask for help if your cellphone has no signal. The limitation about using the GRMS two-way radio is only a few people have the license. If you have the license, the FCC will extent that license usage to your family members giving them the ability to use GMRS frequencies to communicate.
Differences between GRMS and FRS radios
For FRS radio, they use specific frequencies within the same band that is designated while on the other hand, GMRS radio has channels within the frequencies that are not available on FRS radios. For GMRS radios, you require a license while the FRS doesn’t require a permit to own it.
It is important to note that the FRS walkies talkies cannot be modified to reach a further distance while the GMRS radios can be modified to reach further distances. Any radio above 2W of power is classified as GMRS radio. GMRS have a total of 30 channels. 22 FRS/GMRS channels plus 8 repeater channels. If you are using a GMRS radio on channels 8 -14 you are still limited to a transmitting power of .5W.
If you are considering either Obtaining a GMRS license is simple and will give you a wider range of communication in an emergency situation. Regardless of which one you pick both can be purchased in blister pack with home and car charging abilities.
Popular FRS/GMRS Radio
I really like Midland Radios. They are very popular and very available. I will post a few of the base stations I like plus blister packs. Price seem to be very reasonable. I Especially like the Midland – MXT115. It is very portable and a great to move from vehicle to vehicle. It is a sound investment!
What makes the Midland – MXT400 a great choice is power. Seriously major power.
Probably one of the most popular handheld GRMS radios. Midland – GXT1000VP4. Features include 50 Channel GMRS Two-Way Radio – Up to 36 Mile Range Walkie Talkie, 142 Privacy Codes, Waterproof, NOAA Weather Scan + Alert
Handheld Blister Packs
Citizens band (CB) radios have been there since 1945, and although they are old, they are used by average citizens to communicate with users around them. CB radios have many advantages when kept at home. These radios have two different frequencies ranging from 460-470 MHz. Operation of a CB required one to get a certified license from the FCC but was later dismissed, and anyone can now own a CB radio. CB radios are essential, especially during emergencies and disasters. Emergency team, police and volunteer team can use the CB radios to save lives. The only limitation about using the CBs is that only a few homes have them.
This type of Communication when in an Emergency situation is crucial to be prepared in case of an emergency. Although some things like disasters cannot be avoided, it is vital to know the ways that you can use to communicate with the emergency team, police and especially your family . You can communicate by using cellphones, CB radios, GRMS and FRS radios and emails. You should consider having several modes of communication that will help you out in case of emergency.