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Neighborhood Communication Increases Safety

Your neighborhood is safer if you have a Contact on every street, and even more if you have a contact for every 6 – 10 homes.

If there is a street in your neighborhood with no Contact and you know someone there who might be a Contact, please ask them to participate and send their contact info to unitedneighbors@cmprepared.com.

Did You Know?

As reported in Oregon Public Broadcasting and the January issue of QST Magazine, Oregon’s Office of Emergency Management conducted a test of the state’s emergency communication network using the scenario of a cyber-attack on the power grid that disabled telephone, cell phone, Internet and ham radio repeater access and relied mainly on direct contact by 2-way radio as the fallback method of communication.  They discovered they needed more operators in some places to have any emergency communication.

Could You Help?

If Costa Mesa had no telephone, cell phone, Internet or ham radio repeater access, how would you communicate an emergency request for help? We have heard there are more ham radio operators in zip codes 92626 and 92627 than any other U.S. zip code, but not many are active. Many of you have FRS, GMRS or FRS/GMRS 2-way radios to use with the family or could get them very inexpensively (basic info on different radio types and needed licensing is here). Fry’s, Target and Radio Shack are some venders with a pair for under $30 right now. If you get rechargeable radios, be sure they also can use batteries. Are they ready and available (with fresh batteries) to use in an emergency? Would you know how to use them to reach someone in an emergency?

Simple Steps to Be More Ready

Almost as simple as thinking how to get out of your home in a hurry, take these steps to make your 2-way radios a useful tool when you need them.

Be sure everyone in your family knows how to use a 2-way radio effectively (review basic points here).

Get an NSPP Radio Operator ID for everyone in the family who may be using an FRS or GMRS radio in Costa Mesa. This free ID allows you to be identified by home area without giving out your specific address over radio to the general public. You can also look at the Radio Operator ID directory to see who else in your area has a 2-way radio. You can find the Radio Operator ID directory and Alphabetical Radio Operator Name directory under the RADIO section on www.cmprepared.com. You can also look at the NSPP Radio ID Map which shows you the outlines for the area identifications. To get your ID, just send the first and last name of each family member who will be involved, with address, phone and email address and any radio licenses you have to unitedneighbors@cmprepared.com.

Compare your Contact list with the NSPP Radio Operator ID list and see who has a 2-way radio near you. Test communications with them now so you know if you can reach each other in an emergency. Radio waves travel line-of-sight and don’t always like to go through window panes. You can call your neighbor on the phone, have them get their radio and do a radio check while you are both on the phone to see if you can hear each other on the radio. One location on your property may give you better reception than another. Test to find the best transmission spot.

Use the Monday night NSPP Radio Net to see how many neighbors you can hear. Remind them before the net to set their alarm and check in. If you can’t check in every Monday, choose once a month, like the first Monday and put it on your calendar to check in then. The more neighbors you have checking in, the more you can tell which neighbors you can hear directly and which ones you will need a relay to reach.

You are not required to have an ID to check in on the Monday night radio net. Check in as soon as your radio is ready. Then get an ID as soon as you can to make it easier for yourself and help neighbors find you so you can communicate with each other.