Week 38 of 52: Emergency Communication

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With the assistance of Daisy Luther, editor of The Organic Prepper, we set out  to add even more information to the original web series, organize and transform it into a book that encompassed all forms of disasters – both big and small. With all of the additional information added, the title even changed toThe Prepper’s Blueprint to help readers understand that preparedness isn’t just about having a plan, it requires drawing out a blueprint to set a preparedness foundation you can build upon and rely on when the time comes.

(If you entered this page looking for a particular chapter in the free 52 Weeks to Preparedness web series, please scroll down to access this information)

About the Prepper's Blueprint

The Prepper's BlueprintAcross the ages, in every survival story, a disaster of some sort plays a prominent role. Sometimes the part is played by the government, sometimes it is played by Mother Nature, and other times, the role is taken on by a random mishap. If we have learned one thing studying the history of disasters, it is this: those who are prepared have a better chance at survival than those who are not.

A crisis rarely stops with a triggering event. The aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. Because of this, it's important to have a well-rounded approach to our preparedness efforts. Due to the overwhelming nature of preparedness, we have created the Prepper's Blueprint to help get you and your family ready for life's unexpected emergencies. To make a more comprehensive, easy-to-follow program, The Prepper's Blueprint has been simplified and divided up in a way to help you make sense of all the preparedness concepts and supply lists provided. We have divided the chapters into layers of preparedness.

  • Layer 1: Chapters 1-14, prepares you for those everyday disasters that have shorter-term effects: power outages, storms, injuries, and evacuations 
  • Layer 2: Chapters 15-31 help you to get ready for disasters that turn out to be much longer-lasting: economic collapse, long term power outages, and pandemics, to name a few 
  • Layer 3: Chapters 32-56 prepares you for the long haul and a complete change of lifestyle, the end of the world as we know it: providing food and water once supplies run out, security, retreat properties, and long-term plans
  • The goal of The Prepper's Blueprint is to help you find freedom through self-reliance, and ultimately, to get you and your family to a point where you can not only survive, but thrive, in a world that may be permanently altered.


    The following chapter is part of the free 52 Weeks to Preparedness web series

    Week 38 of 52: Emergency Communication

    Consider, for a moment, how drastically your life would change without the continuous flow of energy the grid delivers. With the increase of natural and man-made disasters paired with an aging infrastructure, experts from the private and public sector warn that we are just one major catastrophic event away from an incident that could take down the grid….causing a complete meltdown of life in America as we know it today.

    According to James Rawles, author of How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, most radio and TV stations have enough fuel to run their backup generators for only a few days. Ditto for the telephone company central offices (COs).  If that is the case, then what will happen when those generators run out of power? As he points out, “there will be an acute information vacuum.”

    The best way to to prepare for this serious situation is to equip yourself with the knowledge and with the tools for communication. Communication in a grid down scenario is going to be vital in order to listen to events unfolding around you, talk with loved ones, and protect and keep order in your community or surrounding area. Because many of us are not familiar with the vast array of emergency communication devices, the following list is recommended in How to Survive the End of the World As We Know It, (p.193-198) as well as a brief description of how they operate:

     Shortwave Receiver

    Shortwave radio is a type of long-range radio transmission that bounces signals off a layer of the atmosphere (the ionosphere) to be received in another part of the world. Unlike AM and FM radio, shortwave radio frequencies can bounce off of the ionosphere and be heard many thousands of miles away.

    Rawles suggests that your receiver be a compact, portable general coverage AM/FM/weather band/CB/shortwave receiver.

    Popular brands are Grundig, Sangean, Eton, Kaito, Sony


    A transceiver or transmitter/receiver is a device that combines transmission and reception capability on shared circuitry. In regions where digital coverage is spotty, a transceiver may be equipped for analog to ensure that there will be no loss of signal. Transceivers can handle analog or digital signals, and in some cases, both.

    Ham radio transceivers, for example can broadcast and receive transmissions for over 50 miles, and some can let you talk with people from the other side of the planet. Conversations on a ham radio are not secure or private, so ensure that you do not broadcast any personal information over the airwaves.

    The top brands include MURS (Multi Use Radio Service), Yaesu VX-3R VHF/UHF, Handheld VHF 2 Meter Amateur Radio Tranceiver 5watt, TYT TH-F5 

    CB Radio

    CB radio or Citizens’ band (CB) radio is a communication device that allows people to talk to each other using a radio frequency. The CB radio user has 40 channels to choose from and uses an 11 meter band or 27 MHz. CB radio was originally intended for use by government divisions such as the military, and in the 1960s, it was mainly used by taxi firms and tradesmen.

    Top brands include an Cobra 148GTL, Midland 1001Z, Cobra 75 WX ST

    Field Telephones

    Field telephones are mobile telephones designed for military use, and have the capability to withstand wartime conditions. They can draw power from their own battery, from a telephone exchange (via a central battery known as CB), or from an external power source. There are some that are sound-powered telephones, and do not require a battery. James Wesley Rawles believes that having reliable field telephones is essential to coordinate retreat security in a post-TEOTWAWKI world.

    For semi-permanent installation, ensure that you buy cable that is rated for underground burial (UB), to conceal and protect all of your lines. Burying your lines will also prevent both intentional and unintentional lines cuts and breaks. He goes on to further suggest buying extra field phones, so that you can run communication wire to your neighbors and coordinate with them as well. To purchase field telephones, look on eBay, at Army surplus stores, or emergency supply stores.

    Top brands are TA-1042 DNVT, TA 838, TA-312

    Table Radio

    Essentially table radios are contained radio receivers and can mostly be found on eBay. Many can run on battery power, thus making them useful as emergency radios. Because some table radios still use the vacuum-tube technology, they are virtually EMP proof. Rawles suggests finding a radio with shortwave bands, such as a Zenith TransOceanic H500 and to purchase a redundant comm gear (headsets, antennas, etc).

    Top suggested brands include: Zenith TransOceanic H500, Drake R8B

    To learn more about how having emergency communication devices is vital in a post-emergency situation at Ready Nutrition, click here.

    During emergencies, our total dependence on communications becomes all too clear. If the emergency is severe enough, the communication could be limited, if not non-existent for an extended amount of time. We have all read enough survival books to know that the “comm down” scenario is a very real threat, and happens more often than not. So, when we are on our own, will you have your own communication devices set up to communicate with others or will you take a gamble and stay in the dark?

      Preps to Buy:

    • Short wave radio that is compact, portable, general coverage AM/FM/weather band/CB/shortwave receiver
    • Transceivers  such as a Ham Radio and MURS walkie talkies
    • CB radio with SSB capability
    • Field telephones with extra communication wire
    • Table radio with shortwave bands
    • Extra communication gear (i.e., headsets, antennas, etc.)
    • Extra batteries

    Action Items:

    1.  Read the full instructions on your emergency communication device.
    2. Determine whether you need licensing to operate your emergency communication device.
    3. Learn alternative emergency communication sources, such as Morse code.
    4. Practice using your emergency communication device regularly in order to feel comfortable using it.

    The Prepper's Blueprint

    Tess Pennington is the author of The Prepper’s Blueprint, a comprehensive guide that uses real-life scenarios to help you prepare for any disaster. Because a crisis rarely stops with a triggering event the aftermath can spiral, having the capacity to cripple our normal ways of life. The well-rounded, multi-layered approach outlined in the Blueprint helps you make sense of a wide array of preparedness concepts through easily digestible action items and supply lists.

    Tess is also the author of the highly rated Prepper’s Cookbook, which helps you to create a plan for stocking, organizing and maintaining a proper emergency food supply and includes over 300 recipes for nutritious, delicious, life-saving meals. 

    Visit her web site at ReadyNutrition.com for an extensive compilation of free information on preparedness, homesteading, and healthy living.

    This information has been made available by Ready Nutrition

    Originally published March 23rd, 2012
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