We all recognize the importance of communications in an emergency and hopefully most of us have taken steps to address that need. Many articles, in fact have been written stressing the importance of being able to communicate for families trying to locate whereabouts of family members when a disaster hits; group link-ups, caravan coordination and tactical teams out on exploratory missions are examples. Further, effective communications are critical to determine the extent of the disaster or threat and whether buggin' in or evacuation might be required.
CB, FRS, GMRS and Ham radios have been suggested. And to compliment that two-way capability it is necessary to monitor news and government announcements about the crisis. Emergency services scanners provide on-time responses and reports by police and other services. As important as this is in your planning and incorporation into your preparedness capability, allow me to share a different perspective. First of all, the comments above and all of the related articles focus on immediate, post-disaster needs (and do not take into consideration training and equipment capability efforts) and I need to emphasize that short of an EMP attack or regional earthquake sort of emergency, most serious threats will likely be somewhat slow in occurring. It is critical that we read the "tea leaves" to properly respond.
Now, how do we know what is really going on out in that great big world? We realize that the main stream media--TV, such as the NBC, CBS and CNN types, or the print media such as the New York Times provide a slanted view of what's current news. Even the Fox News focus's on the big national events or human interest stories. We preppers get most of our information from various blogs and websites on the internet as you are doing now. Okay so what, you ask? Well, let's make believe we're a little paranoid for a minute. What have we been reading or seeing on TV? Current coverage is about the threat of cyber warfare tapping into the computers on the major news sources, big business corporations and even government agencies,
possibly by sources in China. The government has even suggested that terrorists might utilize the internet for nefarious purposes.
Are we being de-sensitized to the government planning on taking over control of the internet? It certainly could be interpreted that way. And what might be the result of government regulation of the internet? Control! Any website that promotes independence from the scrutiny of a government agency, be committed to the U.S. Constitution or who questions governmental policies or even be affiliated with the NRA or Tea Party may be put "off line" or be required to take a more politically correct policy.
Might that happen? We've read of president's having some kind of a "hit list." The current president has untold "czar's" regulating our federal agencies resulting in monstrous paperwork requirements or impossible objectives. Just ask some of the coal companies for an example. Yeah, but what's that got to do with me and my preparedness efforts you may ask?
Well, you can't adequately prepare or have enough info (spelled intelligence) to decide to bug out of the city before everyone else unless you read honest, forthright and current thoughts and information from an open internet. And an oppressive government may not be the only thing to limit meaningful information. An EMP attack may knock out our whole information-sharing system.
What can we do? Locally, we can contact our local paper and see if they can, and will share preparedness information and advise to your hometown community. The overall health of your community affects your personal ability to successfully survive the threat. Or you can approach the editor and emphasize all of the natural disasters that seem to be occurring all over the country recently and ask him if you can write a weekly column in the paper on preparedness tips. And if you're speaking in behalf of the Red Cross or your local CERT team, you'll have more credibility to the editor and community.
For longer range information input get in contact with your local ham radio club and arrange for a system of general information sharing to the community by sharing reports they receive. Attempting to make contact via CB radio with the long-haul truck drivers might be another source of more distant information if the regular media sources are somehow shut down. When TSHTF, I'm sure they'll be more than happy to talk about what they've seen or heard. And finally, if an EMP attack or major solar flare shuts the grid down, the only means of information in the community might be regular messages posted in the town square or local super market. And finally, in the
unlikely circumstance that we see an overly oppressive government implement martial law and shut down or control all media (it is one of the current, but stand-by executive orders) you might want to utilize that means of communication used by the patriots before the Revolutionary War--Committees of Correspondence. But remember, you have to know what is going on and have a way to share that
information and it's called communications.