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Basics: What means of communication would you use in case of a disaster?

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  • Basics: What means of communication would you use in case of a disaster?

    So let's say a disaster hit. What means of communication would you use in case of a disaster?
    You can choose from any of the following diaster scenarios and explain your choice:

    In case of mass flood in your city or area. landlines are down or phones lost in water
    In case of a sudden fire entire neighborhood that burns your electronics
    In case of a tornado that ruptures the landlines and regular phone signal is disrupted
    In case of a Fire Tornado (now you know its bad)
    In case of a Tsunami (consequences mostly the same as flood)
    In case of a Virus epidemic, landlines and signals are occupied and overused.

    Feel free to add your own scenario and explain the consequence and means of communication during or after it.

  • #2
    If phonelines are down and there is no electricity I would rely on a battery operated or wind-up radio. In a recent crisis where thousands of people were without electricity for weeks, those people could hear messages telling them what they should do and what was happening. It's worth keeping some spare batteries or a windup radio. You can get a waterproof radio designed for use in a shower. That would survive a flood.

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    • #3
      Ham radio sounds the best option.I am unable to imagine alternative because i never have thought that a situation like this might crop up one day,despite being in the team for relief measures.We have been in a tough situation where there was no electricity and towers,and we used open shells and made a speaker out of it and called up others for help.

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      • #4
        Portable phones, I'd buy extra batteries while I can and use them as less as possible. I'd save my computers battery to recharge the phones. Other than that I'd use radios and I can't think of many other means, if no internet is available.

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        • #5
          I would say that when a disaster suddenly hits, you often don't have many choices, you just have to make do with whatever is available. Sometimes there is no communication at all. I experienced such a scenario when I was trapped in the rainforest for a month due to heavy flooding. Friends and relatives alerted rescue services about our location and a helicopter managed to drop us some food parcels. We were definitely grateful to everyone who was thinking and helping us at time.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by erik120 View Post
            So let's say a disaster hit. What means of communication would you use in case of a disaster?
            You can choose from any of the following diaster scenarios and explain your choice:

            In case of mass flood in your city or area. landlines are down or phones lost in water
            Receiving: Wind up NOAA Weather Alert Radio, Wind up AM/FM radio, battery scanner
            2-Way: Smartphone; MURS handhelds; Base, mobile, & handheld Amateur 2-meter radios


            In case of a sudden fire entire neighborhood that burns your electronics
            Mobile systems in the vehicle and back up systems in off-site storage.

            In case of a tornado that ruptures the landlines and regular phone signal is disrupted
            Same as mass flood as is local

            In case of a Fire Tornado (now you know its bad)
            MURS handhelds; Base, mobile, & handheld Amateur 2-meter radios,

            In case of a Tsunami (consequences mostly the same as flood)
            Receiving: Wind up NOAA Weather Alert Radio, Wind up AM/FM radio, battery scanner, battery shortwave
            2-Way: Smartphone; MURS handhelds; Base, mobile, & handheld Amateur 2-meter and HF radios

            In case of a Virus epidemic, landlines and signals are occupied and overused.
            Sames as Tsunami, with the addition of FRS radios for close in comms I do not want to travel very far.

            Feel free to add your own scenario and explain the consequence and means of communication during or after it.
            The basic receiving suite I use (or want) are NOAA Weather Alert base, mobile, and handheld radios; Base, mobile, & handheld scanner radios; base, mobile & handheld shortwave radios

            The basic 2-way systems I use (or want) are sound powered wired systems; FRS very short range handhelds; MURS short range base, mobile & handheld radios; 70cm/2-meter Amateur base, mobile, & handheld radios; HF Amateur base, mobile, & manpack radios; licensed Low-VHF business band base, mobile, & handheld radios


            I want/have back up systems on-site as well as off-site. I have Solar/battery/Crank versions of all the receiving radios except the scanner. I do have solar recharge system for the batteries that all the radios take that use batteries.


            Just my opinion.


            Jerry D Young

            Prepare for the worst and hope for the best and always remember TANSTAAFL
            (There Ain't No Such Thing As A Free Lunch - Robert A Heinlein)

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            • #7
              Good question. Some of those disasters can happen in my area, others not so much so.

              The following is my "base station" setup:



              On Top: A Grundig Satellit 750. Its a FM/AM/SW receiver. I have an external antenna setup to pickup shortwave better. The white box next to it is a Midland NOAA/S.A.M.E. Digital Weather / All Hazards Alert Radio. We've found it very handy for alerts on blizzards and wildfires.
              On the bottom: A Cherokee CB-500 Citizen Band radio (40-channels with scan) CB basestation. Next to it is an Icon IC-208H 2m/70cm amateur radio. Its also attached to my PC next to it for digital modes.

              Not pictured are some handhelds (2 GRMS, 1 CB, 1 2m amateur band) and transceivers installed in the vehicles. Its sort of a minimalist setup, but has worked well enough for us.
              "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

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              • #8
                I feel fortunate that I found this link. The tips and ideas shared by the other members really gave me an idea as to what forms of communication can be used in case of an emergency and all the traditional ways to communicate are down. I experienced this in November 2013 when Typhoon Haiyan hit our country. Phone lines were all dead, and telecommunication companies couldn't come to repair them because they will come from another region.

                That time, we went really traditional. We walked to our relatives' houses, knocked, and searched for them if they were gone. It was a really tedious job, but we had to do it.

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                • #9
                  I have never imagined such a scenario happening to me. A calamity strikes and there is no means of communicating at all, not even the telephones. However, I have always ensured that I have a few relatives and friends phone numbers in my head. Incase my house were to burn and everything in it including the electronics were reduced to ashes, it would only mean that I have to rely on neighbours. Nobody lives like an island on their own and even though the next door person lives a mile away, it would be worth walking to their place to seek assistace. Desperate times call for desperate measures. Request for a phone and call a friend or relative who can help. It is always important to ensure you know some few numbers for emergency times. The only most unfortunate time is if the fire burned down a whole neighbourhood and there would be nobody to turn to.

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                  • #10
                    Forget about using telephones. Forget about using your mobile devices. In instances like this communication becomes very one-sided and you find yourself listening to the radio to find out the latest updates and information. For any society that has become used to instant communication afforded by the internet and mobile networks this is akin to taking someone back to the stone age. Going to nearby government offices or speaking to local officials or first responders will usually yield some sort of information.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by ReDGuNNeR View Post
                      Forget about using telephones. Forget about using your mobile devices.
                      Absolutely true. In the big regional disasters (e.g., 9/11, Katrina, etc.), the land lines and mobile phones were either a no-go or being used by the authorities. In general, one can assume regular phones are out of the question.
                      "Success is survival." ~ Leonard Cohen

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                      • #12
                        I've been through 2 major hurricanes and 1 minor one. And all 3 times, the phones wouldn't work. It was down the longest after Hurricane Andrew.

                        Anyway, during those days, we were only able to get into contact with family members that lived near by. Fortunately, I had family living near for 2 of the hurricanes. So, we would take walks or bike rides to their houses. And then arrange for later meetings - that way there would be no hit-or-misses. And when there were, we would make sure to leave a message on their door, letting them know whatever we needed them to know.

                        For the 3rd, we had filled up our car's gas tank before the hurricane hit and so were able to drive to the next county in order to visit some family members.

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                        • #13
                          If you live near close friends and relatives, a 2 way radio/walkie talkie type thing is great to have. It works independently of phone lines, so as long as everyone keeps theirs charged you can get in touch with your family even if your phones are not working.

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                          • #14
                            2 way radio is actually an amazing suggestion. I guess those Nextel phones finally do have a use! I don't know how they work during emergency conditions but as its radio and it works without cell towers this could be a great idea. Regular radio is also not a bad idea if you are in a close geographical location. But that is unfeasible for any of my family or friends that I would remain in contact with.

                            In my experiences I usually would have to go and check on the person to speak to them as all other avenues of communication were simply impossible. Like I stated earlier, any sort of communication will simply not work during a major emergency.

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                            • #15
                              In a cataclysmic event, where all communications are down and all technology is non existent via electric magnetic pulse, the only option would be the good old carrier pigeons. Sounds absurd, but over great distances, that would be the only means of any communication. Unless we start using horses for mail carriers as they did back before electricity was invented.

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