Walkie-talkies for emergencies and much, much more!

Boy with walkie-talkie
Walkie-talkies not just for emergencies

It’s one thing to make your lists and carefully assemble all your emergency supplies and equipment. I assume your stash includes walkie-talkies, or hand-held battery-operated radios.

But if you really build preparedness into your lifestyle, you’ll find yourself using walkie-talkies for emergencies but also for every day tasks!

We use walkie-talkies for emergencies but also for so much more!

If you haven’t considered getting radios for your own stash of emergency supplies, consider the following list of how you might use them if you had them.

Manage traffic using walkie-talkies.

Just yesterday Joe and I were asked to help direct traffic at a drive-thru food distribution taking place right down the street. (It was a last-minute call.) We grabbed our fluorescent-striped vests (always important for both visibility and authority), a couple of walkie-talkies each, and jumped into action. I stood at the distribution point, Joe positioned himself at the assembly point around the corner, and we made sure cars approached slowly, on the correct side of the street, etc.! Safe and easy because we could keep in constant touch!

Pickup at airport.

We always carry walkie-talkies when we’re picking up somebody at the airport. Joe drops me off and continues around the loop. (No parking and waiting allowed.) I run in, find our guest, keep Joe apprised of the timing, tell him exactly where we’re coming out – and he swoops right up in front of us! There’s no dialing, no answering of phones, etc. Joe just listens to my commentary so the pick-up is smooth and easy.

Convention contact.

In the days before COVID, we regularly attended industry conventions. Since the purpose is to network, that means you can easily get separated – one person stays to talk with a vendor, while the other cruises on down the aisle. Pretty soon you have lost each other in the crowd. But, with a handy walkie-talkie, you can let the other guy know right where you are. Again, no need to dial, no crossing your fingers hoping there’s reception within the conference hall. Works perfectly.

County fair.

This same concept works for any kind of fair, outing at a theme park, etc., but with an improvement: You can let the whole family know, all at once, that you’ve decided to take a rest by the Snow-Cone stand.  

Parking assistance.

Last week I watched as a neighbor tried to back his new camper into a parking space. (There was no option for a drive thru!) He was having a tough time. His wife was trying to help, but he couldn’t keep her in view because of the sharp angle. (And her hand signals weren’t too clear, either.) Joe and I have used walkie-talkies for years to safely back RVs (and RVs towing cars!) into campgrounds, storage areas, etc. It’s a lot easier to tell the driver when the hitch is just 6 inches from crunching into the corner of the rig than to try to SIGNAL it!

Tracking racers.

Our CERT group often participates when the city sponsors a long-distance race. People with walkie-talkies are positioned along the course and report as the runners come by, if there’s an emergency, etc. All the course monitors can hear as the race progresses and be ready as contestants approach. We’ve used walkie-talkies to track cars passing checkpoints in a hill climb, too.

Sporting events.

When you are in line at the stadium concession stand for hotdogs and beer, and your youngster needs to head to the bathroom, send him along with a walkie-talkie and instructions to check in at the top of the stairs, at the door to the restroom, etc. He’ll be fine – and you won’t have to worry.

Explore safely.

Part of the joy of camping is heading off into the trees just to see what there is to see! As a parent you want your kids to have that experience. But as a parent you naturally worry that they could get lost, injured, etc. Send your kids off with walkie-talkies so they can keep in touch with each other AND with you. Then let them all know when it’s time for lunch. One call is all it takes to reach the whole pack.

Car convoy.

If you’re traveling with a couple of cars it’s good to be able to agree to a stop, warn about something ahead on the road, report that you’ve lost sight of the other car, etc. Walkie-talkies are instantly available for messages like that! Now safe driving habits include not having to REACH for a phone and not having to use more than ONE FINGER to activate the phone. That’s why walkie-talkies are usually not included in legislation defining “distracted driving.” (At least, that’s what I’ve been able to discover. Check with your own state.) It’s best, of course, for the radio operator not to be the driver.

Construction and plumbing.

We occasionally find ourselves trying to figure out where there’s a break or an obstruction or a leak in a pipe. Picture Joe outside at the sewer cleanout, me inside at the sink.  “OK, turn on the water!” “OK, now turn it off.” No yelling. Easy and efficient. Or picture me on the roof, cleaning off dead branches. “Can you hand me up the leaf blower?” Again, no yelling!

I think you get the message! Walkie-talkies rock!

Of course, our walkie-talkies are our main resource for emergency communications. We fully anticipate that a wildfire could cause a complete communications shut-down. So we’ll be holding our monthly neighborhood group radio drill this very evening.

But having and using the walkie-talkies on a regular basis makes them even more valuable. If you haven’t yet considered adding them to your own supplies, now may be the time. Perfectly good ones are available for around $30 a pair.

Our walkie talkie reviews page goes over 6 things to watch for, and has links to examples of different styles and their costs. Our favorite for regular usage is the first in the list.

We think everyone can take advantage of walkie-talkies for daily living!

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

P.S. Let us know how YOU use walkie-talkies — for everyday and also for emergency communications. Really, these are some of the most valuable and useful tools available! (They make great gifts, too.)

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