In Case of Emergency…
Note: This page content is based on the Facebook group "In Case of Emergency…"
Much of the information is the same, except that the FB group provides breaking news heard over the amateur radio airwaves. If you want the latest information regarding fires or other emergencies in the area, we strongly suggest you join that group. If you are simply looking for general EMCOMM information and links, you've come to the right place! Look for updates and more links soon.
The purpose of this page is to provide a place to find helpful information when other 'normal' means of communication are disrupted by either natural or man-made events. Please share any helpful information you find here with others who may not have access to this site. Always remember to check on neighbors and especially the elderly to make sure they have what they need until normal services are restored. Let's all learn from these events and try to be better prepared for when it happens again. Because it WILL happen again!
First off, consider having a Police Scanner in your household. This way you can monitor emergency situations near you by listening in on your local Police, Sheriff, Fire and Ambulance calls. A scanner can also help you monitor local VHF and UHF Amateur Radio (HAM) transmissions. Many Amateur Radio Operators are also members of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and may be deployed to help during emergencies do to events like wildfires, storms or floods. Make sure you have a scanner that can be powered with batteries or a car battery just in case the emergency has left your home without electric power from the local PUD.
Another thing every household should have is a basic AM or AM/FM portable radio to monitor local, regional and national broadcast News transmissions and Civil Defense Alerts. Again, be sure this radio can be powered by a battery or other source rather than just your household (GRID) power. Many newer radios of this type can be powered by batteries, SOLAR or even by a hand crank! Often times they are also able to receive Short Wave radio broadcasts from across the country or around the world! These kinds of radios don't always come with the best antennas. But it is easy to clip a longer wire to the small telescoping antenna on a cheap radio to help bring in those far away stations. You can also buy or build antenna boosters to help with reception.
The next step should be to get yourself and your family one or more Family Radio Service (FRS) radios. These small hand-held radios (Walkie Talkies) don't have a lot of power or range, but they can help you monitor the local situation as well as allow you to transmit and communicate with family members or neighbors over short distances up to a few miles or more. We'd like to have a system in place where we could have people monitor FRS Channel # 7 in the event of another emergency so we could let people know what they should do.
The next step up would be to have a C.B. or Citizens Band Radio in your home and/or your vehicles. C.B. radios have more power (5 watts) than the hand-held FRS radios, so they can transmit farther. Again, we would like to have a plan in place to use C.B. Emergency Channel #9 to let people know important information or call for help in the event of an emergency.
Finally, you should consider becoming a Licensed Amateur Radio (HAM) Operator and use this more powerful radio equipment to communicate locally, across the country or even around the world. There are many books or free study guides on the internet to get you started. There are HAM Radio License Exams every few months in both Republic and Omak.
Hopefully this gives you some idea of what you need to be better prepared for the next time your Cell phone or home telephone is not keeping you in touch with the outside world. We will post further information in the future. And let's all be sure to help each other when the need arises.
Here are a few links you might be interested in.
C. Crane Company offers many radios and antennas: http://www.ccrane.com/
You can study to become an Amateur Radio Operator (HAM) online: http://www.hamradiolicenseexam.com/?gclid=CMrp0cf6zrwCFRSFfgodlSgAxg
What is ARES/RACES ? http://www.arrl.org/ares-races-faq
Disclaimer: Any links or mention of certain brand name products on this website are not meant to be an endorsement. They are just examples or suggestions to give you an idea of what can be done with certain equipment, and the hope is you will do your own research and make your own decisions