10 Things You Can Do for Emergency Communications
- Have a hardwired phone. Cordless phones will not work without commercial power.
- Be able to charge your cellular phone without commercial power; use a car charger or external battery pack.
- Keep a hard copy of important phone numbers and e-mail addresses with you.
- Back up electronic address books. Many e-mail applications have features to export electronic business cards and make back-up or archive files on external devices, like a flash drive.
- Maintain multiple e-mail accounts. Use your cellular phone to send e-mails.
- Teach family members how to use text messages. Text messages can often get around network disruptions when phone calls might not be able to get through.
- Create a family communication plan as part of your overall emergency planning.
- Have Family Radio Service radios (low power/short range) for your family and neighbors. These are widely available at department stores.
- Get a General Mobile Radio Service radio with higher power and longer range. An FCC license is required for this type of radio.
- Become an Amateur Radio Operator. For more information visit here!
Auxiliary Communications Services (Amateur Radio)
When disaster strikes, communication becomes even more critical than usual, but is often disrupted by system overload or equipment outages. That is when the trained radio operators of the Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) are a priceless asset to the community, assisting Fire, Police, and other agencies with essential emergency communication. Sign up as an ACS volunteer to participate in this rewarding application of amateur radio.
To join ACS, you need to have an amateur radio license or be willing to study and take the test to obtain one. Licensed GMRS radio operators and people with computer or network skills are also needed. The minimum age is 21 years old. Monthly training and weekly radio nets provide the knowledge and experience to function in an emergency. The San Bernardino County Fire Department processes applicants and requires completion of Incident Command System (ICS) classes, submission of live scan fingerprints, and completion of an orientation class. The ICS classes provided by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are available on-line. Additional County training can be completed to respond on County fire incidents and provide mutual-aid to other counties in the state.
ACS provides communication support to Montclair, Rancho Cucamonga, Upland, and the County of San Bernardino. The unit is affiliated with the San Bernardino County Emergency Communication Service (ECS) and reports to the San Bernardino County Operational Area.
For more information about joining ACS, please contact:
Chief Radio Officer Mike Albertson, KD6GWO