© 1999 Michael S. Hyatt
Before you rush out and purchase a bunch of fancy communications
equipment, you need to determine your communications needs and decide
what you want to accomplish. To do so, follow these steps:
Advertisement - story continues below
Make a list of the people you want to stay in touch
with in an emergency. This will undoubtedly include family members,
business associates, church friends, and neighbors.
Determine what it would take to stay in touch with each
person. For example, to stay in touch with my parents who live in
another part of the country will require an Amateur Radio. To
communicate with my fellow church members who are scattered over a wide
geographic area may also require the same. However, I can use either
Citizen's Band (CB) or Family Radio Service (FRS) radio to talk to the
neighbors in my subdivision.
Consider your resources. Make sure that you attend to
first things first. As important as staying in touch may be, it's not as
important as food, water, and shelter. Make sure you take care of those
things first, before you blow a bunch of money on high-tech
communication gadgets. If you have less than $100 to spend, get a simple
AM/FM radio that will run on solar power or via a hand-crank mechanism.
If you have a couple of hundred dollars, you can add a CB or FRS radio.
Get a commitment from the people you want to talk to. It
won't do you any good to buy a radio if the people you want to talk to
don't have one. Duh! That's why buying a radio is often a group
decision. It's best if you are using similar equipment so you can help
one another when there are problems.
Develop a communications plan. How often to you want to
talk to the people in your network? What are your procedures and
protocols? These are things you need to figure out together, long
before you are in the middle of a crisis.
Run periodic test drills. Take a page from the military:
practice, practice, practice. You want a system you can depend on in an
emergency. The only way to do this is by getting comfortable with it
before you need it.