These are just a few of the reasons why we have and maintain a special communications case with enough radios for every member of our team, in addition to a number of specialty radios capable of working in conjunction with other emergency services, search and rescue operators, and even federal agencies, which may be involved in emergency or disaster incidents. Part of the training in EARS covers the use of these devices, and we frequently conduct drills and exercises to assure that everyone involved knows how to use this equipment. Many times during events that we participate in we will assign radios to team members and utilize those opportunities as training sessions as if they were actual incidents. This helps everyone become fully familiar with the radios, their use, and how to troubleshoot common issues that come from field use.
Communications following emergencies and disasters is something that is not only important to a team like ours, but is also important to your own families and friends. You should make sure that you have a solid plan in place for how to contact those close to you should you be impacted by an emergency or disaster. And as we explained above, you shouldn’t rely only on being able to grab your phone and call someone, or get online and email or post a message. Consider alternatives like having a friend or relative that you can call to on a “hard line” who can then reach out to others who may be worried about you. Remember to make sure that someone else has a list of people that you would want contacted if you are involved in an incident so that they can in-turn relay messages for you. All of these things are important parts of being prepared, because you never know when something may happen, and in today’s technological world it is in fact easier for things to go wrong than not!
Here are some helpful and interesting tips:
- Did you know that text messages work by different means than making calls? Following a disaster, texting is a better way to go, especially because if the receiver is not in an area they can get the message, it will go through once they are in a better spot.
- Have a trusted family member or a friend be your “point person” if you face an emergency or disaster. Tell them how to post to your Facebook, or have them post a message there, so that others know you’re safe. Give them a contact list of who to reach if you are unable to do so.
- Pick a few people from outside of your area to be your “point person” as well. Remember, sometimes disasters impact a wide area even beyond where the initial impact occurs, so someone a few towns over may not be able to receive your messages. Consider someone in a different state, or at the very least a different area of your state.
- Buy wireless radios for your family! These days a good set of wireless radios will only run you around $40.00 - $60.00, but if communications go down, they can be the only way to keep in touch if you need to separate for any reason. Come up with a communications plan to keep in touch – for example, a designated time each hour to connect by radio so that you conserve the battery life at other points.