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Saturday, November 7, 2009

Emergency Communications

In the middle of any kind of emergency or disaster, keeping in touch with "the outside world"  - anything outside of your home - can literally mean the difference between life and death.

Most people have some sort of battery-powered radio in their homes.  People who are a bit more forward thinking have radios that have a hand-cranked dynamo so that they're not dependent upon batteries.  These are all good things to have.

But what if the emergency is simply in the development stages?  Something like a riot or a train car derailment.  You still have power and all normal utilities coming into your home.

The first place most people will go is usually their television set.  While beneficial, you need to understand that the content is edited and not always timely.  You can go directly to the source via police and fire scanners.

If you don't want to spend the money on a scanner, you can (most likely) get a live feed via the Internet at  Very cool.

Go to the site and click the Live Audio link.  Click your state and see if there is a feed in your area.  For instance, I am able to get a link to my sheriff's dispatch and another for the local police and fire.

We had a huge fire in our area a few months ago, and the TV information was virtually useless.  It was clear from observing the smoke plume that the fire was moving towards my house, but there was no information available about the exact location of the fire or if it was under control.

The TV helicopters just kept showing the massive flames but didn't provide much information.  Having this scanner information would have been fantastic for knowing the real status.

Since this is Internet based, you are not restricted to your locality.  If something is brewing somewhere else in the country, you can simply select the state and location where something might be happening.

It's a bit addictive, and a little disturbing.  These broadcasts are the actual discussions going on between the officers and the dispatchers.  Drivers licenses and names are broadcast, for instance, when someone is pulled over by a police officer.

They were obviously talking in Radio Code, and I had no idea what they were talking about.  I found this site that gives you all of the codes that are used between the officers and the dispatchers.

Accept the Challenge

Knowing what's "coming your way" can save your life.  Consider a portable scanner for your vehicle in the event you need to relocate - bug out - on short notice.

Copyright 2009 Bison Risk Management Associates. All rights reserved. You are encouraged to repost this information so long as it is credited to Bison Risk Management Associates.


Andrea said...

I've been giving thought to communications this week as well; mainly because I won a Slinky Jr. Shortwave Antenna and don't have a radio to attach it to. Any thoughts on shortwave radios? I checked out that link and there are no feeds in my county, so maybe a radio would be the next best thing?

Chief Instructor said...

LOL! I started doing research on different communications ideas because I had suddenly seen a number of blogs mention the Slinky antenna.

I'm doing more research on short wave, CB and Ham radios. I really know next to nothing about them and want to see if they have some place in my preps.

I should have something posted in the next week or so.