Survival Prepping 101 Series Part 10: Invest in Emergency Communication Gear/Devices
Survivalists frequently prioritize recharging their smartphones when equipping themselves with communication devices. However, they often overlook that solar power may not be sufficient to recharge their phones even if cell towers are operational.
You might think that your entire family members will all be together in the event of a disaster, but they could be scattered in various places like the workplace, schools, or home. It is essential to have a means of communication with them, both in case of emergencies and during a prolonged survival situation when you need to reach out to others strategically.
Please note that this post contains affiliate links, meaning I will get a small commission for qualifying purchases at no extra cost to the buyer.
One example of the telephone network’s vulnerability occurred during the terrorist attacks of September 11th. Cellphone networks became overloaded, making it difficult for many people to contact loved ones, locate survivors, and coordinate safe meeting locations.
In times of need, it is vital to communicate effectively with others, particularly during natural disasters when you may need to alert someone to your whereabouts to be rescued.
You risk endangering yourself if you use only one form of communication and assume it will be successful. Always have a contingency plan and reliable equipment available as a backup.
Strategies for Communicating in Difficult Situations
There are several ways to communicate during a survival situation. You may need to have a verbal discussion, or you may need to transmit a signal that conveys a message such as “I need assistance,” or something important needs to be observed.
Because of the instability of cell phone towers, you may want to invest in satellite phones that rely on orbiting satellites rather than land-based cell towers so that you can communicate with your loved ones.
This is especially helpful if you go out in the wilderness, where cell phone coverage is often lacking. Satellite phones are more reliable but are a little more expensive than cell phones and may not be as convenient to carry.
If you have a homestead property or want to keep in touch with someone nearby, you can invest in some old-fashioned walkie-talkies. These are two-way radios with a short range for communication.
Another option would be a Family Radio Service (FRS) set of radios (see the above link to Read). These are similar to walkie-talkies and have better range like a ham radio, but they don’t require a license.
Walkie Talkies – Long Range-Wishouse Handheld 2-Way Radios. Rechargeable with Lamp, SOS Siren, NOAA Weather Alert, Easy to Use 4 Pack.
The rechargeable walkie-talkie supports micro USB charging. The radios have an upgraded custom helix gain antenna, super penetration, and lossless transmission technology. You can speak and hear clearly within one (1) mile in the yard or indoors. Get longer-range communication in open areas with little or no obstruction.
For more advanced preppers, having a ham radio and an FCC license would be a great way to communicate with others in a more extended range. This is perfect if you were in a situation where traveling to and from different towns would be precarious. I’m lucky that my husband is a ham radio user. We have a giant antenna in our backyard.
Sometimes, the communication that you need would be incoming. You want to ensure you have a hand crank NOAA weather radio on hand. This will be able to broadcast important messages and alerts to you, and it doesn’t require electricity or batteries.
If you are going to rely on a cell phone tower, not only do you want to have your solar chargers in place, but you also want to use a cellular booster so that you get more reliability with a signal if you are in an area that doesn’t have good coverage.
For moments when you need to alert people about your presence and possibly get rescued, you can use a variety of communication tools. For example, you may want to invest in some flares you can ignite to send a distress signal.
Many people carry a reflective mirror to use the sun to signal to aircraft that they need assistance. If you are on the ground and people are searching for survivors, you may want to have a whistle, a small air horn, or even some sort of bell that can let people know where you are.
Shopping Considerations for the Gadgets You Choose
Most survival preppers have a budget for the gear and supplies they invest in. And while cost is an essential factor, you also want to have other considerations regarding gadgets that will allow you to communicate with others.
For example, some communication gear has a variety in the communication range, so if reaching someone in the next town is essential, you’ll want something that can give you that capability.
You also want to consider whether or not your geographic location will impact the communication tool. Sometimes, the range isn’t just a distance from one point to another. Still, you must consider natural barriers like a mountain or skyscraper that could determine whether or not your message gets through.
Another consideration you want to make when purchasing your survival gear is whether or not it gives you the ability to recharge it using solar power or hand crank power. You don’t want to rely on electricity and batteries, but if you have a battery-operated piece of equipment, ensure it has a long life.
Anytime you can get waterproof or, at the very least, water-resistant radios, that will be a better purchase than something left vulnerable if caught in a flood or even hard rain. An even better choice is a ham (amateur) radio.
And, of course, consider the cost so that something works within your budget. Still, suppose there’s something you know you’ll need for communication purposes. In that case, you may want to set aside a little money until you can invest in a gadget that is durable and easy to use for your family – choosing value over cost in this instance.
Safety and Maintenance of Your Emergency Communication Survival Gear
Just as you check your food storage for signs of pests or spoilage and rotate your supplies out, you want to maintain your communication gear and check it periodically to ensure it is in good working order.
This can be done on a weekly or monthly basis, and you want to look for any corrosion or damage to your communication gear so that you can replace any element that has been compromised.
If you take your communication gadgets out on a camping trip or hike, make sure that you clean them when you return home and keep them in good working condition. Store it in a place that will not damage it, and have a Faraday bag that can shield any electronic devices for communication from an electromagnetic pulse.
5 Pack Faraday Bags, extra large Faraday Bag for Laptops, Tablets, Radio, Faraday Key Fob Protector. Faraday Cage with handle, Fireproof and Water Resistant Faraday Pouch, Faraday Key Fob Protector.
Extra large Faraday bag with handle (16.9”x19”), large Faraday bag (16.9”x14.96”), laptop Faraday bag (12.99”x 10.23”), a Faraday cage for radio (10.63”x 7.87”), Faraday bags for phones (7.87”x 4.72”)
Our Faraday cage bags provide security protection for your credit cards, passports, cell phones, laptops, key fobs, Bluetooth, GPS units, and transponders.
There may be some of your gear that is digital and will require a software update, and you always want to take care of this regularly so that you’re not caught months down the road with a piece of equipment that is far outdated when a survival event occurs.
All the gear in the world won’t help you if your family is not well practiced and using it. They need to know how to operate the equipment, how to troubleshoot if something isn’t working, and what to use as a backup means of communication if the primary one fails.
These days, many people rely on their smartphones to give them phone numbers, addresses, and full names. You want to have communication lists printed out and preferably laminated so that your contacts list is preserved if you can’t use your smartphone.
Remember that sometimes you have to communicate when you are under some threat. Your family needs to have a code that can be used to signify that there is danger, even when they can’t be transparent about it.
From time to time, you may want to practice some drills with your family so that they know how to use specific equipment and even where to meet up if they have to evacuate from their current location.
I’m the daughter of 2 original survivalists who moved from the north to sunny Florida. My mother, along with her parents, bought 30 mostly uncleared acres in 1938. The first home was made of pecky-cypress and built by a house-raising. My mother raised 10,000 chickens.
My divorced mother met and married my father in 1948. From pine trees on our property, he hand-built a log cabin. He also built a tarpaper-lined 65’x45′ pool with duck pond overflow. We had an artesian well for our water and powering our hand-built waterwheel for the pool. He built a substantial cantilevered roof workshop with a car pit in the massive cement floor.
Since my early teens, I have read a ton of books about survival, prepping, the bomb, an apocalypse, homestead living, and SHTF situations. As an adult, I continue to read sci-fi, survival prepping, and science. I practice a prepper lifestyle albeit a bit modified, read a lot, buy a lot, pack/store a lot of anything survival related.
Read my About Me post for more details on our self-sufficient living. I lived there until I went to college in 1968.
My SurvivalPrepperSupply.com blog strives to educate individuals on coping with natural and human-caused disasters using article posts about preparing for emergencies.