Have you ever thought about how you would communicate with family and friends in a disaster situation? Depending on the severity of the event, as well as how long it takes things to get back to normal, it could be some time before you are able to rely on the Internet or even cell phones to get in touch or share information. This could be a very stressful time for many people, especially if they need to find out the location or condition of loved ones. Here are a few ideas for communication methods in a SHTF scenario.
This is probably the easiest method for most families to rely on after a disaster. Since they run on batteries, don’t rely on cell towers to work, and are really easy to use, they are a good choice to add to your emergency kit, as well for use in other settings, like at a theme park, or when out hiking or at the beach. They are relatively inexpensive, so you can get a couple of decent sets (even ones that are waterproof) without a lot of money spent.
They are widely available both in retail stores and online, so you can shop around and read lots of reviews before choosing a set. There are a few cons to walkie talkies, one being that they don’t cover a huge distance, a few miles for most sets. Also, because they only have a certain number of channels already on them, others could be using those channels as well, and might be able to hear what your are talking about. Even with those cons, they are a good, fairly reliable option to consider.
These are a good idea if you want to be able to listen in on any kind of communication between law enforcement, emergency workers, or air traffic control. These would be an amazing help in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Thy can be pricey, up to a few hundred dollars, so they are a bit of an investment. However, they can pick up lots of local frequencies, so you can listen in to all that is going on locally, without having to rely on local news or Internet.
It might be tricky to program your scanner, but once you get that done, and lean the police/rescue codes for your area (which you may have to figure out from listening a lot before a big disaster hits), you will probably use your scanner a lot. The other thing to note about the scanner is that you won’t be able to send out any messages yourself; just listen to what all is going on around you.
Using an amateur radio is a hobby that many people enjoy, but it can become a bit time consuming. This is a communication method to consider because it does allow you to cover a long distance (sometimes over 100 miles!). This would be an excellent choice if you have family that lives some distance from you.
Another great thing about the amateur radio is that there are networks devoted to prepping and disaster preparedness, so there are many like minded people using this mode. You can also use the radio to send emails or even use Morse code. However, you have to have a license to operate an amateur radio. They can also be costly, at around $800, just for the radio, which doesn’t include anything extra like an antenna, battery or other accessories. Amateur radio is the way to go if you truly want some off-grid communication, but it takes time to learn to operate and use it successfully.
These are just a few of the communication method available in disaster situations. While they all have their merits, you’ll need to find the one that will best fit the needs you’ll have to be able to communicate with the outside world.