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You talk, phone, text and write others every day. Communication only happens when someone else accepts and pays attention to your message.

This message is about emergency communication and if you get the concept, it could save your life.

A communication emergency develops when a critical communication system fails and the public is at risk. A system can be overloaded or have a mechanical failure. Storms, earthquakes, fires, human mistakes or even sabotage can leave large areas with no phone, internet or electrical service and possibly lots of problems.

How do you check if everyone is OK, ask for help, get things fixed? IF YOU ARE PREPARED, this emergency communication can be handled by 2-way radio. You need to HAVE a radio, but you need little training to turn on a radio and push the “talk” button.

You do need to learn how and what to say to get what you need. This is radio discipline, in which you need training and practice, so you can be efficient and effective in an emergency. If everyone on your Contact list, if everyone on your block had an FRS/GMRS radio and there was an emergency, you could all turn on Channel 4 and be able to instantly communicate across your neighborhood with everyone getting the news immediately. It is THAT SIMPLE!  BUT, if you are all talking at once, you can’t understand anyone. This coordination of when to talk and listen and how to communicate clearly is what needs to be practiced regularly BEFORE you have an emergency.


In a major emergency without training, your fears dominate your activities. Only the prepared are not afraid.  For example, a person can become a great athlete, or a great pilot, or a great soldier, but they can only do what they are trained to do. Can you imagine facing a major league pitcher when you've never been trained how to hit?  


  • If you have a Ham or FRS/GMRS radio, get it out and charge it up or insert fresh batteries. If you need to get a radio, now is a good time to do so. FRS/GMRS radios are as little as 2 for $20. Ham Radios are as little as $35.
  • If you are a Ham radio operator, please consider also having an FRS/GMRS radio and being a relay for your neighborhood.
  • If you have an FRS/GMRS radio, register for your free Neighborhood Safety and Preparedness Program (NSPP) ID number, so others can know your home base area without knowing your street and you can see who else has a radio in your area. Just send your name/address/phone contact information to unitedneighbors@cmprepared.com. You can see the lists here and here which are on www.cmprepared.com.
  • Check in on the Monday Night NSPP net as frequently as possible, so all possible communicators can be organized now and have an operational plan in place to use in an emergency. You do not need to have an assigned ID before you check in.  The purpose of the radio training net is to help everyone learn how to use their radios properly, so in a disaster, radio communication can most effectively help the most people.

Get everyone possible on the air. Review the basic protocols under Communication on www.cmprepared.com.  It is OK for several people to take turns using a radio until you all get your own, but be sure everyone has reviewed the protocols before they check in on a net.  As we get organized, we will practice things we all should know.

  • An Elmer is a mentor to a new radio operator. A relay may be an Elmer for their neighbors.
  • There are Elmers available if you want to talk about which Ham radio to get or how to get your license.
  • There are Elmers available if you have a GMRS or Ham license and need help figuring out what external antenna to get, getting the antenna installed or adjusted for best results.
  • Contact unitedneighbors@cmprepared.com if you need help from an Elmer.
Your strongest point of safety preparedness should be to have an FRS/GMRS radio fastened to a flashlight FOR EVERYONE IN YOUR FAMILY TO KEEP AT THE HEAD OF THEIR BED. If you need help in an emergency, you have a way to communicate even if the phones don’t work. 

Those Contact lists give you phone numbers across your neighborhood so you can test how far your 2-way radios work. There Is a lot more info about radios on www.cmprepared.com. You can practice using radios back and forth as well as on the Monday night nets. Think about it. Your safety is worth it.


http://www.k8qik.org/radiops/pdf/emcom1course.pdf  The ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course, Level I
Train yourself or train others; course contains important information for anyone who might communicate in an emergency, even if you don’t have a Ham radio.

www.hamuniverse.com  About Ham radio, how to become a Ham radio operator and helpful information for Ham operators

www.hamsphere.com  Free download for a seven day trial allows you to talk to other Hams around the world without having to buy equipment. Try out “being a Ham” and learn about the technical aspects of ham radio. Subscriptions cost $39 a year. An experienced Ham explored this site and contacted the site developer who was happy to talk to him by phone and explain how to use the site. It is “cool” once you know what you are doing.