What will you do when the power grid goes down? If the Internet and phones stop working, how will you touch base with others?
This will happen says Michael Blackman, safety director for Stevens County emergency systems in Washington State. At a recent public meeting, we learned of a system of volunteers who are preparing in case there is a natural or man-made disaster, a time when all emergency systems will be overloaded and not able to respond.
“If you have a plan, you will get your facts straight and not say or do the wrong thing,” he explained to an audience of around fifty persons, half who were ham-radio operators.
He explained how we talk to each other: face to face, hand signals, on the phone, with written messages via snail or e-mail, or on two way radios. “Of course, there are smoke signals but what do you do on windy days or if there are too many mountains or hills in the way.
“Not only do you need a Plan A but you should have a Plan B in place in case an unexpected glitch shows up in Plan A.”
A band of volunteers, experienced or just learning, are preparing to be available in time of natural or man-made disasters to monitor on unlicensed Channel 3 at the top of every hour requests for information or help. They be on hand to help us stay connected by calling others for help, sharing information before during and after a crisis and be part of the post-crisis recovery.
The network is AmRRon and it’s for folks who have Family Friendly Radios (walkie-talkies, the kind you buy at Radio Shack or Wal-Mart), Murs, or the CB in your vehicle.
Up here by the Canadian Border, Fire Chief Mark Smith and his crew of volunteer firemen and women will be waiting in three fire trucks at key locations in Fire District Ten to pass along, with their fire truck radios, emergency requests and to share vital information.
You may not want to think about keeping a bug-out bag in your vehicle, handy in case roads are blocked, and you have to walk, but, you might consider getting a walkie-talkie. Remembering you can dial in Channel 3, to reach an AmRRon volunteer at the top of the hour.
Blackman calls having a disaster plan for yourself and family, “Free insurance.” I’ve located an old set of walkie-talkies. Now, I must take time to learn how to use it.
(Thanks PhotoPin for another great photo)