Even if the cellular system is down and you are unable to make phone calls, your smartphone can still be a useful tool. Keep in mind, too, that even when voice calls don’t work due to overloaded circuits, you still may be able to send text messages. It’s not unusual for texting to work even when you can’t make or receive calls with your mobile phone. Plus, there are voice, text, and other useful apps and downloads which can be useful even when the cellular phone system is down. This article recommends apps and gear to help you prepare now, in advance of the need.
Since mobile phones often don’t work in an emergency situation, and 9-1-1 dispatch systems may be down or overloaded, we need alternative communication methods. We need to be able to communicate with family and friends, to summon help, and to help deliver it to those who need assistance. This article is a summary of our 2-way communication options, problems, solutions, and the pros and cons of various products, plus the recommendations of our experienced experts.
Having access to personal records and identification during an emergency situation is important, but other documents, such as medical reference documents, equipment and product manuals, schematics, maps, and other reference materials may also be a godsend. If you are anywhere other than at home when disaster strikes, you may not have access to your laptop computer […]
If you have a smartphone and a “goTenna“ device, you can send text messages even when the cellular phone system is down or overcrowded. The goTenna partners with your phone, like a headset or your car’s hands-free phone system via Bluetooth, and then uses its built-in miniature 2-way radio (MURS) to transmit your text message to other goTenna […]
For those who live in the United States, the U.S. Government maintains a nationwide network of 1,000 emergency radio stations (NWR). These continuously broadcast region-specific weather information, and now other emergency information, too. Therefore, all emergency kits assembled for use in the U.S. should include a radio which is capable of receiving these “All-Hazards” radio broadcasts. […]
One aspect of disaster preparation which never seems to get any attention is access to important personal records. These may be urgently needed during a time of disaster or emergency, but without advance planning you may not have what you need. Basic records which are critically important include basic identification such as copies of your […]
The best opportunity to experience amateur radio operators in action is ARRL Field Day. This is an exercise where amateur radio operators (Ham’s) “take to the field” to set up stations in simulated emergency conditions. This annual event is held on the 4th weekend of June. If you are interested in mid-range or long-distance communication in […]
For those who have a two-way radio (and have obtained an operators license), the annual Field Day event sponsored by ARRL is the perfect opportunity to test your skills, and to practice setting up your equipment in a mock disaster scenario. Always held the fourth weekend in June, “ham” radio operators participate in this event […]
What are Scanners Anyway? A scanner is a radio receiver (it cannot transmit) which allows you to scan multiple frequencies at one time for two-way radio activity. These devices are commonly known as “police scanners” in that most people use the devices to listen to police radio communications although fire department monitoring is almost of […]