Wednesday, September 20, 2017

How to Communicate During an Emergency - Sponsored Post

How to Communicate During an Emergency
The following information is taken from ‘How To Communicate During A Disaster’ by GetVOIP.

How communication is compromised

     Strong winds or flooding damage cables between cellular towers
     Seismic activity damages underground fiber-optic cables
     Heavy rain or snow cuts off wavelength signals to important wireless links
     Solar storms destroy cellular satellites
     Networks become congested and jammed
     Hackers disrupt or overload networks

Make sure you’re prepared before a disaster strikes

     Create a family emergency plan – Make sure your family knows what to do and where to go during a catastrophic event.
     Compile an emergency contact list – Build a list of important contacts for easy reference during an emergency.
     Important contacts include:
     Local police
     Local fire department
     Children’s school
     Power company
     Insurance company
     Family members
     Establish a calling tree – Designate someone that everyone calls. They will be the central hub for information.
     Subscribe to local text alerts – Subscribe to local alerts to receive text updates about your area.
     Download helpful apps – Download apps specifically designed for emergency situations.
     Helpful apps include:
     Red Cross
     Weather Network
     Environment Canada
     Purchase backup charging options – Ensure you have backup charging options for your phone in case the power goes out.

Options for communication during a disaster

Amateur Radio Service (Ham)An amateur radio service for non-commercial purposes. Ham radios have multiple frequency bands, including: HF, VHF, and UHF—with multiple modulation types, including: AM, FM, and SSB.

     Pros – greater power and more availability of repeaters
     Cons – requires licensing and testing

Family Radio Service (FRS) – Personal radio service that is essentially an improved walkie-talkie system. FRS radios use UHF and FM.
     Pros – entire family can have their own radio and no license required
     Cons – limited range (~1 mile) and restricted by line-of-sight

General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) – Land-mobile radio service designed for short-distance, two-way communication similar to FRS. GMRS radios use UHF, FM, and have 23 available channels.
     Pros – higher power level and can use repeater to greatly improve range
     Cons – interference from limited channels

Citizen Band (CB) – A system of short-distance radio communications where users share channels. CB radios HF, AM, and SSB.
     Pros – unaffected by cell towers or satellites and no license required
     Cons – limited range and not many people using CB

Walkie-talkie – Handheld, mobile, two-way radios with a built-in speaker, microphone, and antenna. Walkie-talkies share one channel and only one radio can transmit at a time.
     Pros – mobile and easy to use
     Cons – limited range and easy to eavesdrop

Satellite Phone – Mobile phone that uses satellites rather than cell towers.
     Pros – unaffected by cell towers with functionality of a cell phone
     Cons – don’t work well indoors and won’t function if satellites are compromised

Landline Phone – Landline telephones use a fiber optic telephone line or metal wire for transmission.
     Pros – generally work during power outages and lines are protected underground
     Cons – not many people have landlines and can be expensive to pay for a landline only for emergency use

Social Media/Mobile Apps – Social sites or apps often have messenger and chat functions that can be used to communicate.
     Pros – more access to real-time news/events and location features can help track loved ones
     Cons – requires internet access and internet capable device

Email – Electronic mail messages sent via the internet on a computer, tablet, or smartphone.
     Pros – less congestion than cell service and doesn’t rely on cell towers
     Cons – requires internet connectivity and internet capable device

Cell Phone/Smartphone – Handheld mobile devices capable of calling and text messaging other phones as long as cell towers are intact.
     Pros – everyone has one and can reach people directly

     Cons – dependent on power grid and cell towers and network congestion can cause issues

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