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Emergency Communications

Communications Disruption

Depending on the severity of the earthquake, and your distance from its epicenter, your telephone and electricity services may be offline or sporadic for days or possibly even weeks.  Cell phones have worked in some areas where quakes have occurred in recent years, but may be unreliable. Cell carriers may or may not have backup power generators working within the area you would try to use your cell phone. If landline phone service does work, you should be trying to relay your information to someone out of state as the outward/out of state phone exchanges are largely unaffected in a localized earthquake scenario.

Emergency Planners always suggest that you pre-arrange with out of state relatives or friends that they agree to be your central point of contact, to receive status reports from family members in the quake-affected area. Train everyone in your immediate family to know to call "Aunt Jane" (out of state relative) if any phone service is available, to let her know their status. When the 1989 Loma Prieta quake occurred there was still spotty landline service available, but all phones were simultaneously knocked off the hook in a very wide area. Exchanges started working better in the hours after the initial quake.   Calling "out" was restored much sooner than calling in-between quake affected areas, or out of state folks trying to call "in" to quake affected areas.


Motorola EMS 1000 http://www.motorola.com/Business/US-EN/Business+Product+and+Services/Two-Way+Radios+-+Consumers/Talkabout-EM1000-Two-Way-Radio_B2B_US-ENShort distance (2 to 5 miles) family radio service (FRS) type of Walkie Talkies may be the only way you are able to communicate outward to others in the nearby vicinity of your location when an earthquake hits.

Tune all devices to a common frequency channel ahead of time, and remember only one person at a time can be speaking. If more than one person is holding down their "talk" button on the device it blocks that person being able to communicate until they release the button and wait for the person on the other walkie talkie(s) to finish talking. 

We recommend Motorola Walkie Talkies - they are readily available at local retailers: Frys, Home Depot, Lowes, Target and Walmart. Look for models with rechargeable batteries with charging docks or AA batteries rather than the less expensive models which run on AAA batteries - they smaller batteries do not last long in continous use.

Reminder: Store the batteries for any devices that need batteries, in a ziplock bag in your earthquake kit, not installed in the device. The batteries will last longer this way as they are not discharging as much if not "in" the device.

Buy and store large packs of AAA-D or whatever sizes you need for a portable transistor type radio, walkie talkie use,  flashlights, battery operated lanterns. Find out what sizes you need to run the devices you expect to need to use - and add in some extras of each size you will use. Do it today while you are thinking about it! 

Hawyard Fault Earthquake Scenario Communications Failure

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