Thursday, 30 January 2014

Making Contact With Emergency Communication Equipment

By Serena Price

Emergency Communication Equipment is Important when putting together your disaster bag. You will want to stay abreast of updates and reports plus be in contact with loved ones and relief crews. Choose either a Ham Radio, Satellite Phone, Walkie-Talkie, Cell Phone, or a Hand-crank Radio to keep you in touch with others during a crisis.

The one option used for over 100 years during every disaster in the United States of America is the Ham Radio. They operate on a wide variety of frequencies ranging from above the AM broadcast band to the microwave region. These are short wave bands and bounce off the ionosphere from the transmitter to the antenna of the receiver's unit. In order to transmit longer distances, they use a repeater which receives the signal then rebroadcast it over and over again. Also some operators use Morse code which can often get through when voice transmission cannot. The Short Wave Radio has an internal battery or generator so outside power is not required.

The second option is a Satellite Phone. Their advantage is that their transmission bounces off satellites orbiting the earth. They provide voice, text, and internet service in addition to Global Position System, GPS. They are more dependable than Cell phones because they do not use the cell networks which can become overloaded and jammed.

Walkie-Talkies are hand held two-way radios. Battery operated, these do not use cell towers or phone lines. As long as there are no large obstacle such as buildings, a mountain, or large grouping of trees, a person can speak with another person 1 mile up to 35 miles away.

Though the previous recommendations are for items that do not use the same network as a cell phone, that does not mean cell phones cannot still be useful during a disaster. Text messages and the internet use different bandwidth than voice calls do so if the network should be overloaded, you can still get a text message through. You should also be able to access the internet through your data plan to communicate with others. Do not forget that social media has proven to be useful in the past during times of crisis.

A Hand-crank radio is also a valuable item to have in your bag. Though you cannot send voice message over it, you will be able to gather information from radio and weather stations. This equipment are powered by cranking a handle that in turn powers its internal generator. This is useful not only because it provides its own energy but also because today's units have ports for charging cell phones, they have a reading light, emergency light, and other safety features. Also, most have a solar panel for providing its energy.

Which ever equipment you choose, store plenty of batteries. Check them according to manufactures instructions to ensure they are fresh when needed. Also, invest in a solar converter to ensure you will be able to operate your equipment.

Emergency communication equipment Is Important to the safety and peace of mind of your family and yourself during a disaster or crisis. Put together a preparedness bag that includes not only food, water, and medical supplies, but also one of the suggestions from above.

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