September is National Preparedness Month, and this is part of our “Being Prepared” series.
There are so many things to take into account when you are trying to be prepared. Everything from a bug out bag, food and water storage, to what to do when disaster strikes. It takes preparation. But what good is any of that if you can’t communicate with anyone?
Imagine this scenario:
You live in the famous Tornado Alley and the sirens just went off. You already know what to do because you prepped a little. You grab the kids and the family cat and head down to the basement. Panic has just hit because your husband was on the way home and you haven’t heard from him. You reach for your cell phone but you don’t have coverage!
Okay, let’s just stop right there. For most people they are dead set on using their cell phone as the only line of communication. In the scenario you just read, the sirens went off for a good reason. To tell you there was a severe threat of a tornado. Well, it hit and took out power to the whole town. That means your cell phone won’t work either because the cell towers were taken out too. So, what do you do?
In times of disaster, or emergency, you’ve really only got two choices. Those long-range walkie-talkies or the old tried and true ham radio. Both of them have their own place, but don’t feel like you need to run out and get your operators license just yet.
Technology has come a long way over the last few years. Remember when you were a kid and you were outside playing with your walkie-talkies? Don’t kid yourself. You know you did! You were lucky if those old things would work from your house to your best friends house that was next door. Fast forward to modern times real quick, and realize that the walkie-talkies of today are advertised to reach out to 30 miles. In reality they only go about half that. But, during a disaster like the scenario presented above, you would have a way to communicate when traditional methods are down. All you would have to do is reach for your bug out bag and test your line of communication.
Don’t dismiss this old tried and true method of communication. For such a long time, during times of disaster, it was ham radio operators that were carrying the load of the communication relay. Technology for ham radios hasn’t really advanced too much, but that’s because of the old saying is true, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Ham radios just plain work. There is some training involved in becoming a certified ham radio operator. The training isn’t all that hard, but well worth it if you are the only one in your town with that capability. The one place where they have advanced is that they have gotten cheaper over time. You don’t have to have that huge antenna bolted to the side of your house feeding down into a basement full of radio equipment. Ham radios today aren’t much bigger than a mobile scanner. They are well worth the added cost and training if you are in an area prone for natural disasters.
Having a good line of communication is key during any type of emergency. All you have to do is be prepared.