The ability to communicate during and after a disaster is vital. Disasters can strike at any time and more often than not leave behind devastation and unimaginable losses. Different disasters such as floods, tornadoes, earthquakes, among others cannot be fully predicted or prevented. It is therefore crucial to have at least one way to communicate with others during such unpredictable times. Most of the communication channels we use such as mobile phones, the Internet and text messaging do not work after a disaster. One way to communicate during a disaster is through radio waves and a “Survival Radio”.
What Communication Channels Are Available in the Wake of a Disaster?
Disasters might destroy most of the daily communication channels. Fortunately, there are communication options available even after devastating tragedies. These channels are easy to use and locally available.
1. Amateur HAM Radio
HAM radio uses high frequencies to relay messages between two points. It has a wide operating range and may be used to describe the events on the ground. HAM radio covers text, photo, video, voice and digital communication modes.
2. General Mobile Radio Service frequency and the Family Radio Service (GMRS/FRS)
GMRS and FRS are short range and low powered frequencies. They facilitate communication between short distances that do not have any terrain interference. The radios are small and portable making them convenient for after disaster communication.
3. CB Radio
CB radio resulted from the success of the effective HAM radio frequency. It allows communication over a long distance as long as the weather conditions are favorable.
What to look for when selecting an emergency radio.
1. Make an evaluation of your area. Have an idea of the weather and terrain layout that may affect radio communication, and determine what frequency will adequately cover enough distance to sustain communication.
2. The survival radio option should be independent of a power source. In cases where a disaster destroys power lines, having a battery powered radio will keep communication going without fail.
3. The radio should be portable and easy to carry around when moving becomes necessary.
What is the best frequency to use during a disaster?
The FM, UHF and VHF channels are usually out of range or inaccessible during a disaster. The best transmission is AM. It has longer and low frequency wavelengths, easily reflected over the earth’s surface without disruption. AM wavelengths can travel anywhere on the globe regardless of any low power transmitters. This makes the AM frequency the best survival radio to provide emergency information over a large geographic area. AM frequency uses a few radio stations to carry frequencies between two points. If an AM radio is not available, the next best option is an FM radio frequency. It may not cover as much ground as the AM, but the short frequency waves cover enough ground for communication.
It is important to remember is that communication during a disaster is crucial. Having a radio to communicate and to listen to other broadcasts can lead an individual or group of people away from danger. Get prepared for any disaster by acquiring a reliable survival radio.