Communications For When Disaster Strikes

by
posted on September 12, 2013
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Mother Nature is a powerful, cunning and deadly adversary if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time. This morning’s news is a tragic example. Two people have died in Colorado’s torrential downpours, flooding and road-blocking mudslides. Rescue teams have been unable to reach one of the victims, so it would appear there’s currently no way in or out of that area for the average citizen.

Gallantry usually rules in situations like this, but there are some who consider it an opportunity to loot, burglarize or worse. With hurricane season gaining steam, and unexpected catastrophes always possible, are you geared up to protect your family?

Yes, you have plenty of ammo and the firepower to keep the wolves at bay until law enforcement arrives, but have you checked your store of non-perishable food? Wandering the streets in search of food when the water is rising is not a safe option. You need to ensure your family’s safety, perhaps check on neighbors and loved ones, and above all, carry yourself with the kind of calm style that’s infectious to those around you.

But, welfare checks on neighbors and loved ones can be problematic. If there’s a widespread power outage, don’t expect cell phones to work. Landlines may be useless, too.

After the attempted break-in at my place, I resumed a deadly seriousness about two-way radios. I suggest you do the same. I spent 12 years doing search and rescue work eerily similar to that going on in Colorado, and the heavy, homely and scarred Motorola “brick” I carried on each operation seemed an infallible lifeline.

Finding the right radio can seem complicated. In fact, there are more choices available today than ever before. Here’s a pair of Uniden walkie talkies that do everything but put the dishes away after dinner. There’s an emergency strobe, privacy codes, flashlight, auto squelch and more, all in a waterproof unit that floats.

If dad is heading next door to check on Mrs. Smith after the rain has stopped, his short delay won’t result in the entire family making a dynamic entry into the senior citizen’s living room to reinforce his position. If he needs help, it’s a simple push of a button away, instead of unlocking a cell phone screen, scrolling through a contact list, punching dial and waiting for someone to pick up. A cat could surrender all nine lives even if the cell tower is still working.

And whatever you choose, remember it’s a tool-just like your guns, designed for a specific mission. In my case I didn’t want to deal with licenses, tons of channels that could confuse the family when under duress, privacy codes or battery-draining and position-surrendering blinky lights. I also wanted a system that allowed me to leave the radios in the charger, even after the batteries were fully charged. That way they’re ready to go during unscheduled disasters.

I went with MURS radios for a bunch of reasons, ruggedness of construction being a primary factor. Nope, they won’t be talking anywhere near 50 miles. But if the unthinkable arrives, I now have a reliable means of letting my wife know I made it safely to check on the daughter nearby. That way everyone can stay safely out of Mother Nature’s wrath-or behind locked doors if I ever again need to wait outside for law enforcement to arrive.

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