Sunday, June 24, 2007

Can You Hear Me Now? Communications Tips

The purpose of having a good communications plan thought out in advance is so that at any time, under any conditions, you will be able to communicate with family/friends/your survival team/etc with ease. Here's a few random tips to consider when putting together your communications plan:
  • For everyday communications, consider carrying a fully-charged cell phone as well as a pre-paid calling card for times when cell service isn't available. Good luck finding a pay phone, however, these have become as rare as juke boxes!
  • Consider carrying two cell phones from two different carriers as some have a better signal in some locations while the other may perform better in other areas, if this is necessary for you.
  • In case you can't use your cell phone and it's address book where all of your important numbers are stored, consider printing up and laminating a short list of important numbers and keeping said list in your wallet.
  • Back up your complete phone book, Outlook contact list, etc on a jump drive which you carry with you at all times.
  • Pre-plan who will be you local, state, across-country and outside-of-the-country contact person should you become separated from your family/friends in a disaster and make sure everyone has the person's contact info (name, address, phone/office/cell number, email address, etc). You may want to offer to be the contact for the people who are your contacts as well.
  • Consider having a back up, pre-paid cell phone and charger in your home, office and car.
  • Consider having a satellite phone if your situation warrants it.
  • Have on hand short-range "walkie talkie" hand held radios. These come in handy during vacations and are also valuable during a disaster. Be sure to store extra batteries.
  • Make HAM radio a family hobby. Make sure every one in your family/survival team is certified as an operator and very familiar with the process of communicating using a HAM radio. Practice/drill often and also consider how you would power your radios if conventional power isn't available.
  • Practicing other forms of communications such as sign language, a foreign language, Morse Code, etc. is also a worthwhile pastime as you never know when these skills will come in handy.
  • Learn how to discern information by watching how people communicate with body language, how animals communicate with each other and how crowds of people "communicate" as well.
  • Finally, include having a "secret word" with your spouse/family for use in emergency situations.

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