By Kellene Bishop
Communication Preparedness is the 10th Principle of Preparedness. I realize that I haven’t addressed this topic as extensively as I have the nine other principles, but the truth is, it’s not my forte. Mind you I’m cognitive of needing secret ways to communicate, special words of phrases for everyday safety, and I teach my husband Tagalog, and we’re trying to master the use of Morse Code, but I couldn’t even begin to use his shortwave radio if my life relied on it. In fact, I didn’t even know what a shortwave radio was until I read James Wesley Rawles book, “Survivors” where a character uses it in order to get home from one side of the world to the other. I also feel very intimidated with the HAM radio licensing requirements so I’ve left that up to the hubby. Yup. I’m going to say it, it’s a BIG BAD vulnerability that I’ve left myself exposed to with having to rely on someone else for that type of communication, but I AM working on it. Fortunately, there are lots of other folks out there who are willing to use their expertise to benefit others, and even write a comprehensive book on the matter to that will be helpful to even the newest of the newbies. Today, I’d like to tell you about such a resource.
Brad Smith is the author of “Are You Radio Prepared?” And he kindly sent me a copy of his book to review. The funny thing is with the holidays and me launching this 100 Days of Prepping, I felt a bit overwhelmed just getting my normal research reading done. But for the past 2 weeks I’ve been inundated with questions from readers and I’d say that about 15% of those messages are coming from folks who are wet behind the ears but wanting to make sure that they have the ability to communicate in a power-down emergency. Well, I have to say that I’d recommend Brad’s book for just about anyone who wants to venture into that aspect of preparedness.
Brad covers many of the key basics of getting ready to communicate in a society-down scenario as well as enjoying HAM and shortwave radio communications as a hobby. He tells you what you need to know before purchasing the equipment and provides you with equipment resources. He manages to do so without making you feel like an imbecile--nicely done, Brad--and this coming from a gal who's too freaked out to try and take the HAM radio class. *grin* (O.k. O.K. before I get an litany of messages from you guys about this, suffice it to say that I only have so much hard drive space on my brain right now, and the thought of adding such technical instructions right now is just more than I want to bite off. Thank You.)
The only thing that Brad doesn’t cover in his book is protecting the equipment in the event of a coronal mass injection or an electric magnetic pulse event which would fry much of your equipment. So I’ll simply address it here briefly. Yes, you would need to keep your communications equipment stored in an appropriate faraday cage environment. A microwave is not suitable as a faraday cage because it would only protect against a specific wavelength. The power brought by an EMP would be too much power for a microwave and too many frequencies. Any gaps in a faraday cage must be significantly smaller than the wavelengths which you’re trying to protect against. I’ll write a more detailed article in this 100 Days of Prepping series specifically on faraday cages and specifically on EMPs so you’ll need to be patient on that aspect, but in the meantime, you can take advantage of Brad Smith’s book and get yourself squared away in this aspect of preparedness.
I believe that there are a myriad of reasons why this kind of preparedness is necessary for us to have on hand. With the threats of our own government shutting down the internet, with the realization that very few homes actually have a land-line anymore and most of the nation’s population relying on the use of cell phones, there’s every reason to believe that a crisis would cripple us and our ability to communicate. In my opinion, communication is vital to a person’s security and safety.
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