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Emergency Off-Grid Communication Guide

Kevin Durkin for In The Mesh
Kevin Durkin for In The Mesh

This emergency communications guide will help you understand what options are available to you and your family to use during and after a disaster, should normal lines of communication be unavailable.

We will discuss the basic and advanced technologies that exist today; such as satellite & radio communications, along with more basic methods as simple as loud noises and flashing light.

We’re going to get into a lot of depth on some fairly complex subjects in this guide.

This isn’t an advanced tutorial but we will try to give you a comprehensive understanding of what options you have and what their strengths and limitations are, and that will include a pretty deep dive into electronics and radio theory so some complex subjects are ahead.

Types of Emergency Communications (EMCOMM)

Why are backup communications an important part of preparedness?

During a natural disaster or emergency, you might not be able to depend on your cell or land-line phones or internet to exchange information between you and your loved ones, or the community around you in the ways you are used to.

Cell towers and internet routers must be powered to operate, and if there is a large enough power outage then their services can easily be compromised, and might not come back online for days, or even weeks.

Both of these situations happen quite frequently around the world, especially during large scale events such as earthquakes, wildfires, or hurricanes.

You might not be able to reach your family, friends, and neighbors even within your own community!

So what can you do?

There are other methods of communication which are available to you:

  • Basic methods: signaling and notes
  • Satellite Phones & 2-Way Devices
  • Mesh Networks
  • Handheld UHF/VHF Radios
  • High Frequency Radios
  • It’s good to have a combination of these technologies, as they all have their strengths and weaknesses.

Some are easy to use, some require a learning curve, some are cheap, and some are prohibitively expensive.

We will dive into each of these options in detail so you can decide what is best for you.

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