Saturday, February 2, 2008

Emergency Communications


The wired public telephone network is built for reliability. However, if the lines on your street go down, so does your phone.

Telephone Tips
  • Keep at least one corded, analog phone that works without batteries or wall power (i.e. not an ISDN phone) connected at home.
  • Do not make unneeded calls in an emergency. Keep the lines free for those who really need them. If you must call, try to be brief.
  • When you do not get a dial tone, punch a number key. If you hear its tone, your phone is not dead. Do not hang up! You are in a queue--wait for the dial tone.
  • A fast busy signal indicates your call did not go through, so hang up, pick up, and redial. A slow busy signal indicates that the called party is on the phone. Try later.
  • If you cannot reach your party, dial someone far outside the emergency area and ask him/her to dial your party. Because their call may enter the local, congested network through a different line, they may be able to get through. As an alternative, try using a calling card. This may route the call outside the emergency area.
  • Use conferencing if you need to hold a meeting but can't meet in person. Your phone company may offer this, or try or on the internet.
  • Unit Leaders: set up a phone tree in your unit.

Wireless Phone Tips

  • May cell phones and their providers allow sending SMS or e-mail. These may get through even if you cannot make a call because of congestion or because you have a poor signal; the lowest "bar" reading on your phone may be enough. Learn how to send and receive these messages.
  • A car cell phone charger provides another option to keep your cell phone going.
  • Not all cell towers have backup power. If you get no signal, try moving to another one or seek higher ground.
  • Nextel's DirectConnect simulated walkie-talkie bypasses the regular telephone network. As long as itself is not congested, you may reach other DirectConnect users across the country.
  • Nextel's DirectTalk is an actual walkie talkie built into the cell phone. If may reach other DirectTalk subscribers who are within a few miles.
  • Satellite phones are a valuable resource because they do not depend on the local telephone network. They will work from most indoor locations and every outdoor location, no matter how remote. However, they are expensive to own and use and you need someone who knows how to operate them.
  • If you must call during a thunderstorm, use a cell phone or cordless phone so lightning has no wire path to you.


Type of Service/What you Need

  • Dialup: A Dial tone on your phone
  • Cable: An intact cable system, although TV signals do not need to work. Your cable modem needs power
  • DSL: An intact phone system. A dial tone is not needed. Your DSL modem needs power.
  • Satellite: No local infrastructure needed, buy your satellite equipment needs power.

Internet Tips

  • You can reach cell phone subscribers by sending SMS messages over the Internet, even if the lines are congested. Various services provide this ability, like Yahoo Instant Messaging.
  • You can attach a read receipt to email, informing you that the sender has opened the email, although the sender may opt not to send a receipt


Because it does not depend on wiring, you have options.

Radio Tips

  • A prior agreement with the designated, local FM broadcast station may let the bishop or branch president pass messages to your ward members. Call your County Emergency Management Agency to find the station. Find this agency in the phone book or at (click on the the county link)
  • CB, FRS, GMRS walkie talkies can provide local communications.
  • Ham operators, including non-members, are generally eager to assist in an emergency. Other hams, professional emergency responders, members with world band receivers and sometimes CB/FRS/GMRS walkie-talkies may receive their transmissions. Hams with short-wave licenses can use NVIS to cover the entire stake. Not: Hams may use any frequency if needed during an emergency (FCC 97.403).


This is self explanatory. Wherever your car, bicycle, or other transport can take you, you can deliver a message.

Courier Tips:

  • You may also be able to reach someone closer to the target area and have him/her go there.
  • Keep a small (legal) amount of reserve car fuel on hand in an approved container, situated in a safe, ventilated area.

Source: Michael Vuister, Scranton Stake Emergency Communications Coordinator

Disclaimer: This is not an official church document. Use at your own risk. All trademarks are recognized. No specific brands are endorsed.

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Preparedness Quotes

"When faced with the choice to buy, consume, or engage in worldly things and activities, we all need to learn to say to one another, 'We can’t afford it, even though we want it!' or 'We can afford it, but we don’t need it—and we really don’t even want it!'" - Elder Robert D. Hales, April 2009 General Conference

"Many areas of the world have experienced difficult economic times. Businesses have failed, jobs have been lost, and investments have been jeopardized. We must make certain that those for whom we share responsibility do not go hungry or unclothed or unsheltered. When the priesthood of this Church works together as one in meeting these vexing conditions, near miracles take place.

"We urge all Latter-day Saints to be prudent in their planning, to be conservative in their living, and to avoid excessive or unnecessary debt."
- President Thomas S. Monson, October 2008 Priesthood Session, General Conference

"Avoid the philosophy that yesterday's luxuries have become today's necessities. They aren't necessities until we make them so. Many enter into long-term debt only to find that changes occur; people become ill or incapacitated, companies fail or downsize, jobs are lost, natural disasters befall us. For many reasons, payments on large amounts of debt can no longer be made. Our debt becomes as a Damocles sword hanging over our heads and threatening to destroy us."
- President Thomas S. Monson, April 2006 General Conference

“We have built grain storage and storehouses and stocked them with the necessities of life in the event of a disaster. But the real storehouse is the family storeroom. In words of revelation the Lord has said, ‘Organize yourselves; prepare every needful thing’ (D&C 109:8.)”
President Gordon B. Hinckley

"We need to make both temporal and spiritual preparation for the events prophesied at the time of the Second Coming. And the preparation most likely to be neglected is the one less visible and more difficult--the spiritual. A 72-hour kit of temporal supplies may prove valuable for earthly challenges, but, as the foolish virgins learned to their sorrow, a 24-hour kit of spiritual preparation is of greater and more enduring value.

"We are living in the prophesied time 'when peace shall be taken from the earth' (D&C 1:35,) when 'all things shall be in commotion' and 'men's hearts shall fail them' (D&C 88:91.) There are many temporal causes of commotion, including wars and natural disasters, but an even greater cause of current 'commotion' is spiritual." Elder Dallin H. Oaks

“Every father and mother are the family’s store keepers. They should store whatever their family would like to have in case of an emergency…(and) God will sustain us through our trials.” President James E. Faust

“We live in a most exciting and challenging period in human history. As technology sweeps through every facet of our lives, changes are occurring so rapidly that it can be difficult for us to keep our lives in balance. To maintain some semblance of stability in our lives, it is essential that we plan for our future. I believe it is time, and perhaps with some urgency, to review the counsel we have received in dealing with our personal and family preparedness. We want to be found with oil in our lamps sufficient to endure to the end.”- Elder L. Tom Perry, Ensign, Nov. 1995

"Many more people could ride out the storm-tossed waves in their economic lives if they had their year's supply of food. . . and were debt-free. Today we find that many have followed this counsel in reverse: they have at least a year's supply of debt and are food free." President Thomas S. Monson

"Just as it is important to prepare ourselves spiritually, we must also prepare ourselves for our temporal needs. … We have been instructed for years to follow at least four requirements in preparing for that which is to come.

“First, gain an adequate education. Learn a trade or a profession to enable you to obtain steady employment that will provide remuneration sufficient to care for yourself and your family. …

“Second, live strictly within your income and save something for a rainy day. Incorporate in your lives the discipline of budgeting that which the Lord has blessed you with. As regularly as you pay your tithing, set aside an amount needed for future family requirements. …

“Third, avoid excessive debt. Necessary debt should be incurred only after careful, thoughtful prayer and after obtaining the best possible advice. We need the discipline to stay well within our ability to pay. …

“Fourth, acquire and store a reserve of food and supplies that will sustain life [if local laws permit such storage]. Obtain clothing and build a savings account on a sensible, well-planned basis that can serve well in times of emergency. As long as I can remember, we have been taught to prepare for the future and to obtain a year’s supply of necessities. I would guess that the years of plenty have almost universally caused us to set aside this counsel. I believe the time to disregard this counsel is over. With events in the world today, it must be considered with all seriousness.” - Elder L. Tom Perry, October 1995 General Conference

“Maintain a year's supply. The Lord has urged that his people save for the rainy days, prepare for the difficult times, and put away for emergencies, a year's supply or more of bare necessities so that when comes the flood, the earthquake, the famine, the hurricane, the storms of life, our families can be sustained through the dark days. How many of us have complied with this? We strive with the Lord, finding many excuses: We do not have room for storage. The food spoils. We do not have the funds to do it. We do not like these common foods. It is not needed -- there will always be someone to help in trouble. The government will come to the rescue. And some intend to obey but procrastinate.” - The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, p.375

“All too often a family's spending is governed more by their yearning than by their earning. They somehow believe that their life will be better if they surround themselves with an abundance of things. All too often all they are left with is avoidable anxiety and distress” - Elder Joseph B. Wirthlin

"Be prepared in all things against the day when tribulations and desolations are sent forth upon the wicked." D&C 29:8

"Too often we bask in our comfortable complacency and rationalize that the ravages of war, economic disaster, famine, and earthquake cannot happen here. Those who believe this are either not aquainted with the revelations of the Lord, or they do not believe them." President Ezra Taft Benson

"Fear not little flock; do good; let earth and hell combine against you, for if ye are built upon my rock, they cannot prevail. . .Look unto me in every thought; doubt not, fear not." D&C 6:34, 36

"I believe that the Ten Virgins represent the people of the Church of Jesus Christ. . . They (five foolish) had the saving, exalting gospel, but it had not been made the center of their lives. They knew the way but gave only a small measure of loyalty and devotion.

"The foolish asked the others to share their oil, but spiritual preparedness cannot be shared in an instant. . . . This was not selfishness or unkindness. The kind of oil that is needed to illuminate the way and light up the darkness is not shareable. . . . In our lives the oil of preparedness is accumulated drop by drop in righteous living." - President Spencer W. Kimball

“We encourage families to have on hand this year’s supply; we say it over and over and over and repeat over and over the scripture of the Lord where he says, “Why call ye me, Lord, Lord and do not the things which I say?” How empty it is as they put their spirituality, so-called, into action and call him by his important names, but fail to do the things which he says." - President Spencer W. Kimball"/>


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