Citizen’s Guide to Emergency Communications

This forthcoming guide will explore the use of alternative methods of maintaining situational awareness and communicating over moderate distances at times when TV, internet, cellular, and landline phone systems are overloaded or out of service.

The emphasis is on making effective use of affordable, ready-to-use solutions that community members can employ without a lot of deep technical knowledge.

The Need for EmComm

  • Vulnerabilities of conventional communication methods (e.g. CATV, internet, cell phones, landline phones)

Inbound Communication

  • FM broadcast band
  • Weather band and weather alerts
  • AM broadcast band (e.g. Clear Channel at night)
  • Over-the-air TV
  • Monitoring the public safety bandsĀ  (e.g. police/fire/EMS scanners)
  • Monitoring the aviation bands
  • Monitoring the FRS/GMRS band

Outbound Communication

  • The FRS band
  • The GMRS band
  • Obtaining a GMRS license
  • Using GMRS repeaters
  • Handheld transceivers, mobile rigs, base stations
  • Simplex and repeater operating procedures
  • Requesting and/or providing accurate information
  • Making and/or responding to calls for help
  • Factors affecting propagation distance
  • Emergency power
  • How to communicate while traveling during a mass evacuation