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Tips for Communicating in an Emergency
The FCC ^ | 27 August 2011 | by: Jamie Barnett, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

Posted on 08/27/2011 4:10:42 PM PDT by bd476


Tips for Communicating in an Emergency



by: Jamie Barnett, Chief, Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau

August 27th, 2011

I want to share some important emergency information to you for during the storm so that you and your family stay safe.

Recommended Practices for All Users

It is important for consumers to keep in mind that during an emergency, many more people are trying to use their wireless and wireline telephones at the same time when compared to normal calling activity. When more people try to call at the same time, the increased calling volume may create network congestion.
  1. Limit non-emergency phone calls. This will minimize network congestion, free up "space" on the network for emergency communications and conserve battery power if you are using a wireless phone;
  2. Keep all phone calls brief. If you need to use a phone, try to use it only to convey vital information to emergency personnel and/or family;
  3. Try text messaging, also known as short messaging service (SMS) when using your wireless phone. In many cases text messages will go through when your call may not. It will also help free up more "space" for emergency communications on the telephone network;
  4. If possible try a variety of communications services if you are unsuccessful in getting through with one. For example, if you are unsuccessful in getting through on your wireless phone, try a messaging capability like text messaging or email. Alternatively, try a landline phone if one is available. This will help spread the communications demand over multiple networks and should reduce overall congestion;
  5. Wait 10 seconds before redialing a call. On many wireless handsets, to re-dial a number, you simply push "send" after you've ended a call to redial the previous number. If you do this too quickly, the data from the handset to the cell sites do not have enough time to clear before you've resent the same data. This contributes to a clogged network;
  6. Have charged batteries and car-charger adapters available for backup power for your wireless phone;
  7. Maintain a list of emergency phone numbers in your phone;
  8. If in your vehicle, try to place calls while your vehicle is stationary;
  9. Have a family communications plan in place. Designate someone out of the area as a central contact, and make certain all family members know who to contact if they become separated;
  10. If you have Call Forwarding on your home number, forward your home number to your wireless number in the event of an evacuation. That way you will get incoming calls from your landline phone;
  11. After the storm has passed, if you lose power in your home, try using your car to charge cell phones or listen to news alerts on the car radio. But be careful – don’t try to reach your car if it is not safe to do so, and remain vigilant about carbon monoxide emissions from your car if it is a closed space, such as a garage.
  12. Tune-in to broadcast and radio news for important news alerts.

Recommended Practices for People with Disabilities

  1. Register with your local Police Department. Remind them to keep a record of the help you may need during an evacuation, power outage or other emergency;
  2. If you have a Personal Care Attendant, work with that person to decide how you will communicate with each other, such as by cell phone, if you are separated during an emergency;
  3. Consider getting a medical alert system that will allow you to call for help if you are immobilized in an emergency. Most alert systems require a working phone line, so have a back up such as a cell phone or pager if the landlines are disrupted; and
  4. Learn about devices such as personal digital assistants (PDAs), text radio, pagers, etc. that can help you receive emergency instructions and warnings from local officials. Tip: Learn about NOAA Weather Radio for the hearing impaired.

Visit Federal Emergency Management Agency's (FEMA) website at: http://www.fema.gov/plan/prepare/specialplans.shtm for more information.

Recommended Practices for Communications Providers

  1. Work with local emergency services personnel and large communications users (e.g., enterprise customers and campus environments) to develop plans for managing communications surges during emergencies;
  2. Have procedures in place for provisioning additional capacity rapidly to areas that are experiencing surges in demand for communications services due to emergencies. These procedures are especially important for trunks that interconnect local switches with 911 tandems;
  3. Include information in billing/marketing distributions to customers advising them of practices that they should follow when trying to communicate in an emergency;
  4. Work with 911 call centers to help design and implement solutions that will enable them to manage heavy call volume during emergencies;
  5. Ensure that critical 911 circuits are registered with Telecommunications Service Priority to expedite restoration of service;
  6. Consider placing and maintaining 911 circuits over diverse interoffice transport facilities (e.g., geographically diverse facility routes, automatically invoked standby routing, diverse digital cross-connect system services, self-healing fiber ring topologies, or any combination thereof); and
  7. Move network access away from the 911 tandem during surge events that accompany an emergency.

If you need to find a shelter, Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362. Pass this msg via text to friends/family impacted. #Irene

Further helpful information can be found at: www.fema.gov; www.dhs.gov; www.redcross.org.
 



TOPICS: Culture/Society; Government; News/Current Events; US: California; US: Maine; US: Maryland; US: New Hampshire; US: New Jersey; US: New York; US: North Carolina; US: Pennsylvania; US: Vermont
KEYWORDS: communications; emergency; fcc; hurricaneirene; preppers; survival

1 posted on 08/27/2011 4:10:46 PM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

Do these ‘tips’ count for white, veteran, American citizen ‘terrorists’,(as deemed by the DHS), too?


2 posted on 08/27/2011 4:23:09 PM PDT by Freddd (NoPA ngineers.)
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To: bd476

3 posted on 08/27/2011 4:25:59 PM PDT by PROCON (My Passion for FREEDOM is Stronger Than That of Democrats Whose Obsession is to Enslave Me.)
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To: bd476

One that they won’t mention is that you can get fairly inexpensive ($30-$70) walkie-talkies with ranges from 15 to 35 miles on ebay or Amazon. Theoretically, such devices are supposed to be registered with the FCC, but few people do unless they use them frequently.

Importantly, during emergencies you want to minimize chatter to just bare essentials, as such frequencies are likely to be monitored for emergency traffic. But if the phone is down, they are the fastest way to get help and keep in touch with loved ones at a distance.


4 posted on 08/27/2011 4:27:19 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: All

From your cellphone you can find a shelter:



Text SHELTER + your ZIP code to 43362.

Pass this msg via text to friends/family impacted.


DHSJournal Homeland Security


5 posted on 08/27/2011 4:28:40 PM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476
Typical Homeland Security BULLSH!T.

How bout summing it all up with say...BE PREPARED.

I don't need a friggin list. But then again, I'm not a helpless socialist/democrat.

6 posted on 08/27/2011 4:36:33 PM PDT by unixfox (Abolish Slavery, Repeal The 16th Amendment!)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
One of the two shocking shortcomings of the otherwise excellent FEMA manual about dealing with all sorts of different emergencies, is, they never mention that you can buy radios, especially ham radios (for which one needs a license to operate legally). Sometimes, in times of disasters, phone lines come down and cell towers are destroyed. Under those conditions, if you don't have a radio, you aren't going to be talking to anyone. With ham radio, you can talk hundreds or thousands of miles, off a car battery and maybe ten or twenty yards of wire for an antenna (which you should have prepared beforehand anyway.)

(The other shocking, glaring shortfall of the manual is that they never so much as mention the possibility that one could even consider buying a gun and training how to use it should the need arise. No mention whatsoever.)

7 posted on 08/27/2011 4:37:28 PM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: PROCON
That just might work in a fashion sense sort of way especially for those who prefer to ignore all emergencies.

8 posted on 08/27/2011 4:37:42 PM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

Amazing...All that babble and not a word about amateur radio.


9 posted on 08/27/2011 4:42:01 PM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
yefragetuwrabrumuy wrote: "One that they won’t mention is that you can get fairly inexpensive ($30-$70) walkie-talkies with ranges from 15 to 35 miles on ebay or Amazon. Theoretically, such devices are supposed to be registered with the FCC, but few people do unless they use them frequently.

Importantly, during emergencies you want to minimize chatter to just bare essentials, as such frequencies are likely to be monitored for emergency traffic. But if the phone is down, they are the fastest way to get help and keep in touch with loved ones at a distance."


That's a good idea.

" walkie-talkies with ranges from 15 to 35 miles " I had no idea that walkie-talkies had that large a range. They used to sell them at Costco but the ranges were measured in feet or yards, not miles.


10 posted on 08/27/2011 4:42:50 PM PDT by bd476
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To: coloradan
coloradan wrote: "One of the two shocking shortcomings of the otherwise excellent FEMA manual about dealing with all sorts of different emergencies, is, they never mention that you can buy radios, especially ham radios (for which one needs a license to operate legally).

Sometimes, in times of disasters, phone lines come down and cell towers are destroyed. Under those conditions, if you don't have a radio, you aren't going to be talking to anyone.

With ham radio, you can talk hundreds or thousands of miles, off a car battery and maybe ten or twenty yards of wire for an antenna (which you should have prepared beforehand anyway.)

(The other shocking, glaring shortfall of the manual is that they never so much as mention the possibility that one could even consider buying a gun and training how to use it should the need arise. No mention whatsoever.)"


Coloradan, that's excellent advice!


11 posted on 08/27/2011 4:46:39 PM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

FRS and GMRS radios have a range of a few to tens of miles, on open land, much less than that urban or hilly areas. Shortwave ham radios, on the other hand, can reach hundreds or thousands of miles with ease, since they use frequencies that reflect off the ionosphere and back down to Earth far away. Not mentioning ham radio is, as I’ve already pointed out above, a serious omission.


12 posted on 08/27/2011 4:46:39 PM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: coloradan

I have 2 theories about why FEMA doesn’t mention amateur radio:

1) the license thing
2) it’s harder for the feds to exercise control on the ham bands, unlike the other methods mentioned


13 posted on 08/27/2011 4:48:22 PM PDT by FourPeas ("Maladjusted and wigging out is no way to go through life, son." -hg)
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To: bd476

The last hurricane we had knocked out power for 9 days.

I noticed the phones never did go out tho for about a day all you could get was busy signals.


14 posted on 08/27/2011 4:50:17 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: bd476

The last hurricane we had knocked out power for 9 days.

I noticed the phones never did go out tho for about a day all you could get was busy signals.


15 posted on 08/27/2011 4:50:27 PM PDT by yarddog
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To: dragnet2; coloradan; agitator
dragnet2 wrote: "Amazing...All that babble and not a word about amateur radio."


Dragnet2, good point. Not sure what the omission means, if anything. Weren't ham radio operators under some kind of governmental pressure in the past year or two?

Also see Coloradan's comments here and here.


16 posted on 08/27/2011 4:52:01 PM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

17 posted on 08/27/2011 4:54:14 PM PDT by JoeProBono (A closed mouth gathers no feet)
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To: coloradan; Ernest_at_the_Beach; djf
coloradan wrote: "FRS and GMRS radios have a range of a few to tens of miles, on open land, much less than that urban or hilly areas.

Shortwave ham radios, on the other hand, can reach hundreds or thousands of miles with ease, since they use frequencies that reflect off the ionosphere and back down to Earth far away. Not mentioning ham radio is, as I’ve already pointed out above, a serious omission."


Thanks Coloradan.

I have been wanting to get a ham radio for years but other expenses have always gotten in the way.

Ham radio operators have been of critical importance during emergency situations, like earthquakes for example.

Ping to ErnestattheBeach and DJF: Ernest and DJF, have you ever thought about getting a ham radio?


18 posted on 08/27/2011 5:01:53 PM PDT by bd476
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To: JoeProBono

Joe..lotsa creative thinking with this one!!...Kudos


19 posted on 08/27/2011 5:07:17 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: bd476

Boy...Thank goodness for these notices....I’m soooo dumb...just like the government says. I probably have adult ADD, too.


20 posted on 08/27/2011 5:08:41 PM PDT by Sacajaweau
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To: bd476

I have actually thought about it. Don’t you need some kinds of licenses?

Abt two years back, I bought something called a Eton Solarlink FR-600

A radio with shortwave. It can run on batteries, solar power, or in real emergencies it has a hand-crank.

Kinda cool. But getting used to listening to SW is an art in itself...


21 posted on 08/27/2011 5:09:40 PM PDT by djf (One of the few FReepers who NEVER clicked the "dead weasel" thread!! But may not last much longer...)
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To: bd476
You can get a nice older ham radio with general coverage receiver and 100 watts talk output for a couple hundred bucks. You can make your own wire antenna for a few dollars, no big antennas or towers needed, and you can talk to the other side of the planet.

It's an interesting hobby, and lots of fun. Getting the license to transmit on your new/old radio is easy, and takes little study. It's a very rewarding hobby, with many aspects and modes.

22 posted on 08/27/2011 5:11:27 PM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: yarddog

Get the older type landline phone that goes through the phone line rather than the kind that goes through the electric line. We have one phone that works when everything else is down.

Instead of calling on your cell in the big middle of the storm, wait until the weather has passed.


23 posted on 08/27/2011 5:23:11 PM PDT by bgill (just getting tagline ready for 6 months after you vote in Perry - Tried to warn you he's a RINO.)
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To: bgill
Instead of calling on your cell in the big middle of the storm, wait until the weather has passed.

The problem is, in a major event, even after the event, can leave cell towers destroyed, compromised, overloaded, grid goes down, lines down, generating plants down etc, etc. In a major event, computers, telephone landlines and cell phones are generally the first to go and some don't come back for a long time.

24 posted on 08/27/2011 5:33:12 PM PDT by dragnet2 (Diversion and evasion are tools of deceit)
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To: unixfox

As a 60 year old and recipient of the Eagle Scout award...I can honestly say that those two words “Be Prepared” are the two most important words ever to be put together...both here on earth and spiritually!


25 posted on 08/27/2011 5:34:43 PM PDT by Hotdog
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To: bd476

They just keep getting better and better. A few suggestions about their use.

The first is that extra batteries are good, but it is also a great idea, for several reasons, to have a DC to AC converter, so you can charge your walkie talkies from your car’s cigarette lighter socket.

The second is that when you use walkie talkies, if there is interference, using alpha-numeric code is a big help. But take it a step further. Use a simple, one use code, which will defeat most of the snoops out there.


26 posted on 08/27/2011 5:39:47 PM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: bd476

Spot Connect provides a capability to send out a 40 character msg via satellite to anywhere in the world. Check it out!


27 posted on 08/27/2011 5:45:56 PM PDT by 7thOF7th (Righteousness is our cause and justice will prevail!)
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To: FourPeas

First, it wouldn’t kill FEMA to say: “Those of you who are not averse to taking a test about technical topics should consider getting a ham radio license and one or more radios made for those bands, which are enormously capable of long-distance communication under adverse circumstances. The rest of you could consider obtaining some walkie-talkie-like CB or FRS radios, which require no license, and which can communicate over many tens of miles, which might well be enough to reach someone outside of the disaster area, noting that under a communcations emergency, any type of radio communication is superior to none whatsoever.”


28 posted on 08/27/2011 6:09:34 PM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: coloradan

Oh, and second, hams have generally been pretty compliant about doing what the government asks, like ceasing transmissions during wartime when advised off the air (last done in WW2). In any case, what hams would or would not do in an emergency is not up to FEMA to speculate about, and therefore decide not to mention AT ALL.


29 posted on 08/27/2011 6:13:05 PM PDT by coloradan (The US has become a banana republic, except without the bananas - or the republic.)
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To: 7thOF7th

“Spot Connect provides a capability to send out a 40 character msg via satellite to anywhere in the world. Check it out!”

Welcome to FreeRepublic. Just kidding, your post sounds like an advertisement.


30 posted on 08/27/2011 6:27:22 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: bd476; Abundy; Albion Wilde; AlwaysFree; AnnaSASsyFR; bayliving; BFM; cindy-true-supporter; ...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_L6br3kO0VU

Maryland "Freak State" PING!

31 posted on 08/27/2011 6:28:17 PM PDT by Tolerance Sucks Rocks (It's the Tea Party's fault!)
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To: 7thOF7th

“Spot Connect provides a capability to send out a 40 character msg via satellite to anywhere in the world. Check it out!”

Actually they do look pretty neat. To bad for us, though, we just use Jihad Phones, not Smart Phones.


32 posted on 08/27/2011 6:37:09 PM PDT by BobL (PLEASE READ: http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2657811/posts)
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To: bd476

Whew - I’m glad they warned about the carbon monoxide from charging my phone with my car! I could have overlooked that small problem.


33 posted on 08/27/2011 8:46:51 PM PDT by sgtyork (The secret of happiness is freedom, and the secret of freedom, courage. Thucydides)
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To: sgtyork
sgtyork wrote: "Whew - I’m glad they warned about the carbon monoxide from charging my phone with my car! I could have overlooked that small problem."

Not sure if you're being facetious but sometimes in emergency situations people forget the oddest things.

After an unusually strong quake one time, I ran outside wearing just a long night shirt. It was only when I heard my Landlord laugh as he stood braced in his doorway and said "are you okay?" that I realized how wrong I was on two counts.

I ran back inside, slammed the door, threw on my jeans and grabbed my cat. Then I did something even more silly when I ran back outside, down the stairs, jumped into my car which was sitting in the carport beneath my building ... while the quake was still shaking.

It never hurts to hear emergency preparation recommendations several times.

34 posted on 08/27/2011 10:54:58 PM PDT by bd476
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To: Sacajaweau
Sacajaweau, I'm sorry. I meant to ping you here.


35 posted on 08/27/2011 10:58:51 PM PDT by bd476
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To: JoeProBono
LOL! Perfect!

36 posted on 08/27/2011 10:59:17 PM PDT by bd476
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To: yarddog
yarddog wrote: "The last hurricane we had knocked out power for 9 days.

I noticed the phones never did go out tho for about a day all you could get was busy signals."


It's not fun to be without power and phone in an emergency situation.

37 posted on 08/27/2011 11:02:22 PM PDT by bd476
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To: djf
djf wrote: "I have actually thought about it. Don’t you need some kinds of licenses? Abt two years back, I bought something called a Eton Solarlink FR-600 A radio with shortwave. It can run on batteries, solar power, or in real emergencies it has a hand-crank. Kinda cool. But getting used to listening to SW is an art in itself..."

I got an early start as a girl geek with my radio staying up late at night listening from the Midwest to WABC and then a few times I heard a station which sounded like either Radio Moscow or VOA. My Dad later bought a deluxe shortwave radio which was very cool for my late night listening, that is, when he let me borrow it.

Since the 1994 Northridge quake I bought a fairly good hand-crank radio but the coils stopped charging it and the solar panels never worked very well at charging it up.

I'll google Eton Solarlink FR-600 to see what's available. Thanks.


38 posted on 08/27/2011 11:14:00 PM PDT by bd476
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To: dragnet2
dragnet2 wrote: "You can get a nice older ham radio with general coverage receiver and 100 watts talk output for a couple hundred bucks. You can make your own wire antenna for a few dollars, no big antennas or towers needed, and you can talk to the other side of the planet.

It's an interesting hobby, and lots of fun. Getting the license to transmit on your new/old radio is easy, and takes little study. It's a very rewarding hobby, with many aspects and modes."


That's one of my dreams and it will happen, hopefully soon and before the next big quake.


39 posted on 08/27/2011 11:17:19 PM PDT by bd476
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
yefragetuwrabrumuy wrote: "They just keep getting better and better. A few suggestions about their use.

The first is that extra batteries are good, but it is also a great idea, for several reasons, to have a DC to AC converter, so you can charge your walkie talkies from your car’s cigarette lighter socket.

The second is that when you use walkie talkies, if there is interference, using alpha-numeric code is a big help. But take it a step further. Use a simple, one use code, which will defeat most of the snoops out there.

Thank you, Yefragetuwrabrumuy! Those are excellent ideas. I'm going to look to see if Costco still carries them and re-check their range. Otherwise I think the local Fry's carries them, too.

40 posted on 08/27/2011 11:41:46 PM PDT by bd476
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To: yefragetuwrabrumuy
yefragetuwrabrumuy wrote: "They just keep getting better and better. A few suggestions about their use.

The first is that extra batteries are good, but it is also a great idea, for several reasons, to have a DC to AC converter, so you can charge your walkie talkies from your car’s cigarette lighter socket.

The second is that when you use walkie talkies, if there is interference, using alpha-numeric code is a big help. But take it a step further. Use a simple, one use code, which will defeat most of the snoops out there.

Thank you, Yefragetuwrabrumuy! Those are excellent ideas. I'm going to look to see if Costco still carries them and re-check their range. Otherwise I think the local Fry's carries them, too.

41 posted on 08/27/2011 11:41:57 PM PDT by bd476
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To: 7thOF7th
7thOF7th wrote: "Spot Connect provides a capability to send out a 40 character msg via satellite to anywhere in the world. Check it out!"

Thanks for the tip. I thought all GPS devices had the ability to send out an emergency call for help even without a paid subscription service.


42 posted on 08/27/2011 11:45:31 PM PDT by bd476
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To: bd476

I would seriously consider both Amazon and ebay as well, as they get some super deals on brand names. Fry’s is unpredictable for both price and selection.

(I think a good sign that their management went a little loopy was when they decided to give different “themes” to their stores. My local store chose ‘golf’ as a theme. To me this screams, “Our profit margin is so high that we are now wasting money on bizarre decor.”)

I’ve gotten several electronic goodies on ebay that I’ve been very pleased with, such as small stun guns for $10.


43 posted on 08/28/2011 7:55:21 AM PDT by yefragetuwrabrumuy
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To: bd476
It's not fun to be without power and phone in an emergency situation.

Huh. In my world, if you still have phone and power, it's not an emergency situation.

44 posted on 09/02/2011 2:18:00 PM PDT by Romulus (The Traditional Latin Mass is the real Youth Mass)
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To: dragnet2

Bingo. After Katrina, I had no power for six weeks (yeah, I was lucky). After 10 days, I could get incoming calls on the land line. No cell service. No incoming cell service on my cell number anywhere, because cell switches in the 504 were down. People have no clue how hard it was.


45 posted on 09/02/2011 2:26:05 PM PDT by Romulus (The Traditional Latin Mass is the real Youth Mass)
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