Walkie-talkies leverage our Neighborhood Emergency Response Group


For nearly 20 years we have been a part of our Neighborhood Emergency Response Group. Here’s a historical photo to show some of our smiling faces!

Neighborhood emergency response group

During these 20 years we have dutifully collected the items that belong in a home that’s well-prepared. We have also learned a lot. In particular,

  • What disasters to expect given where we live (Southern California)
  • When and how our local government is likely to react (See those government officials in the photo?!)
  • Who we can count on when “the sh*t hits the fan.”

One simple sentence pretty much sums it up:

In a big emergency, it’s our neighbors who will be the true First Responders.

Now, our particular threats – in likely order – are power outage, wildfire, and earthquake. And in just the past two years I’ve reported on how we’ve been impacted by all three! (You can click on the links to see some of that reporting!)

Fortunately, our neighborhood hasn’t been physically damaged. We haven’t had to evacuate. But throughout, our Neighborhood Emergency Response Group has continued to train, to educate and to watch out for neighbors.

The COVID-19 pandemic has re-charged our neighborhood group.

I’ve written over the past couple of weeks about our neighborhood activities associated with facemasks, food distribution, etc.

Today, I want to talk about a renewed role for one of our favorite pieces of equipment: our walkie-talkies!

We have used our walkie-talkies lately more than usual!

  • For last week’s drive-thru food pick-up, our traffic control volunteers used their walkie-talkies to manage the cars as they lined up, make decisions about how to direct traffic at intersections, and, ultimately, when to stand down.
  • In checking on neighbors and doing “senior shopping,” Joe and I have used walkie-talkies to coordinate our shopping routes and progress.
  • At our monthly “walkie-talkie roll call,” I was able to give everyone the latest news via walkie-talkie, handle some questions from the group, and make plans for an upcoming test – in fact, it became a virtual meeting with attendees calling in from front porches all around the neighborhood!

If you have ever thought about adding walkie-talkies to your emergency supplies, now might be a perfect time. You can order them online (be sure to get plenty of batteries) and test at home with family members. 

Now don’t be fooled. The radios that you see Police and Fire Fighters using are not the simple walkie-talkies that we use in our neighborhood emergency response group. But simple or more expensive, all walkie-talkies have one great advantage:

When you talk to your group via walkie-talkie, every person hears the same thing at the same time!

  • If your “group” is your neighborhood emergency response group, everyone on the same channel is brought up to date at once. They all hear the same instructions.
  • If your “group” is your family, they all hear the same call to dinner – or the same call for help. (And everyone hears their answer, too!)

We have used walkie-talkies for years – on hikes, when shopping, attending conventions, trying to back up a stubborn trailer into a tricky camping space!. So much easier than having to dial, wait for the phone to connect, listen to ringing, waiting for someone to answer. A walkie-talkies provides is instant communication.

  • Yes, the signal doesn’t carry very far – it’s not like a cellphone. (You have to test.)
  • And yes, you need to take your turn to talk. (Only one person can talk at a time.)
  • And yes, you’ll probably want to learn some of the of the “lingo” like “Say again” and “Over.”

And yes, walkie-talkies are fun!

If walkie-talkies are something you should look into please head over to our WALKIE-TALKIE REVIEWS page.

You’ll find key questions there to help you decide what you really need. We’ve added and updated everything for 2020 – without any idea of how valuable these social tools would become this year.

Your Emergency Plan Guide team

April – Month of Action

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