7 Communications Tips for When the Grid Goes Down:
If there is one time when some form of communication is needed, it’s during a major catastrophe. Should the grid go down It doesn’t matter if you’re talking about radio, television, the internet or telephones, every device we count on to communicate uses electricity for its power.
Your cell phone: This will probably be your first choice; you may have limited cell phone use during a grid-down situation. However circuits will be very busy and you’ll likely have trouble getting your call to go through.
Cell towers need AC. power to keep them working. Some have automatic backup power, battery or generator. Some even have solar panels to help them operate.
The towers are very vulnerable to disruption by storm or some kind of man-made attack on them.
The power might be out, but there will probably still be some communications available. The federal government established emergency communications procedures that radio stations are required to practice. Many of those radio stations have generators for emergency power.
During a major catastrophe. You’ll need to be able to find out what’s going on, inform family members that you’re ok, and find out how they are.
Portable battery powered radio:
To start with, you should have a battery powered radio. Even better is to have a radio with a hand crank built-in generator for its own power, rather than having batteries powering it. While not common, these devices are specifically designed for use in in the case of emergency. Then it is possible to tune in on the emergency radio broadcasts to receive important information about what’s happening and what you should do.
Portable Two-Way Radios: Aka “Walkie Talkie”
There are a number of short-range two-way radios on the market excellent for family communications in a grid-down situation. These radios have a range of about three to five miles. They would be a necessary part of your home defense system, allowing family members to contact each other, to warn them from an attack when others get ugly and unruly.
Ham Radio: The worldwide ham radio network is probably the most reliable communications system around. There are thousands of ham radio operators using their radios to communicate with people around the world. They also stand ready to serve the community during all types of emergencies. If you have a shortwave radio, you’ll be able to find out what’s happening by listening to the news that these hobbyists provide.
You may even want to consider getting your own ham radio license.
Internet: Depending upon your means of connecting to the Internet, you may still have service during a power outage. You’ll need to be operating off of battery power to connect to it, but many services are likely to be operating off of emergency power systems.
Batteries: Stock up.In today’s world we use so much electronic equipment, batteries are important. Whatever communications devices you use, you’ll need batteries to run them.
Some of the major manufacturers are now advertising a ten-year shelf life for their products.
Solar Charging: In addition to a good stock of batteries, it makes sense to get a solar battery charger or better yet a fully solar powered generator unless you live in a place where it is not sunny or rains a lot. You’ll probably have enough sun to charge your batteries and keep your communications running.
When the grid is down the key to ensuring communications in such a situation is to have several options available. With a variety of systems available, you can continue trying until you find one that will work for you. However, with battery-operated devices, such as cell phones and laptop computers, we can have some communication available to us, even if extremely limited. Without electrical power in the home, most of our communication tools we count on will not be of use. The key to ensuring communications in such a situation is to have several means available to you, as well as a reliable source of power. Each situation will be unique; some of your options will be better others.
Be safe, take care. CJ.