Survival Communications Basics

Disaster can strike at any time. A crisis will not wait until you and your family members are safely together. That’s why having a communications plan is critical.

Your survival communications plan should cover at the minimum:

-Primary and secondary meeting place within the neighborhood (in case of fire or home invasion). These two places can be a neighbor’s house and a neighborhood park.

-Primary and secondary meeting place in town (in case your neighborhood is evacuated). You can choose a library, a church or a coffee shop.

-Two out-of-state points of contact. These two points of contact should be your relatives or family friends that do not live in your state. Call them in case of an emergency and let them know if you are okay. It may be easier to make long-distance calls, as the lines in town may be tied up. These 2 contacts should be able to help you communicate with other family members in town.

-Contact info distribution. You need to create multiple copies of all family members’ and close friends’ contact information and distribute these copies to the said family members and friends. I’ve seen families on different sides of town unable to make contact with each other because they can’t remember the number and they didn’t have the contact list securely on them. That is one of the stupidest and most avoidable mistakes.

-If you’re a parent, you should have your kids’ school/daycare contact info on you, including teacher’s cell numbers if they agree to share them with you.

I recommend buying long-range walkie-talkies and putting them in your EDC bags or emergency car kits. It’s challenging to get younger kids to keep their walkie-talkie in their backpack without showing it off at school or losing it, but you should try anyway. It will give you a great peace of mind to know that you can communicate with your child. Just check it every morning when you give them their lunch and don’t forget to charge it periodically.

If you want to become an emergency communications pro, I would recommend getting a radio. While many “experts” will tell you to use a HAM radio, I am not a huge fan. See, operating a HAM radio requires a license. There are a handful of licensees in every state, the operation is heavily regulated by the FCC and tabs are kept on everyone who has one of those. Opt instead for a sideband radio, invest in a good antenna and amplifier and learn, learn, learn the ropes before you attempt to make your first contact.

If I have one major piece of advice regarding communicating in an emergency, it’s this: do not use the phone to call – text instead.

The phone systems (if they are still operable) will be overloaded. You have a much better chance of getting through to a loved one via text message.

Always watching out for you,

Sterling Mason