It is unlikely your team will all be in the same place when a disaster strikes. We are overly reliant on cell phone communication. In a moderate or extreme emergency, it is likely that this service will either be interrupted (lack of power, towers destroyed) or overwhelmed with too many people trying to call at the same time. On Nine-Eleven, many people were frustrated in their attempts to use their cell phones. Also, texts are more likely to get through and use less battery than voice.
If there is an extended power outage, even if service isn’t interrupted, will you be able to recharge your cell phones? Will cell towers still transmit?
When you consider using a GPS on your cell phone, remember that in many cases, the mapping information is being downloaded from your net if you haven’t already downloaded it into the memory. Thus if your service is interrupted, your cell phone GPS can tell you where you are, but it might not display the map. Understand that the GPS on your cell (and many apps) are a way you can be tracked by people who have access to the technology. Most people don’t understand that they are basically carrying a tracking device with them all the time (their cell phone). It’s also a listening device.
There are other options.
GMRS and FRS radios work well for short distances, but their range is limited. Suffice it to say, that any system you use, make sure you test it. A problem with these systems is they require power to work. These usually work line of sight. So while the manufacturer might state they work 30–40 miles, the reality is, in uneven terrain, their effectiveness will be more limited. If purchasing these types of radios, get ones that run on 12 volt DC or rechargeable battery packs. It helps if they can also run on conventional batteries as you should have a supply of those on hand.
At the end of preparation, I cover power. I discuss solar power which can be indispensable in keeping your cell phone and GPS working.
CB radios are also an option, with greater range. Again, power consumption is a problem. Also, no matter what system you use, remember that anyone can be listening in on your frequency or channel. If you don’t live near water that people boat on, a…