The Importance of Communication Following a Natural Disaster

After a hurricane has ravaged an area, such as the devastation caused by Hurricane Michael in the panhandle of Florida, it is critical for communication to be established with utility restoration teams as soon as possible. Many times companies will send linemen and technicians from all over the country to help restore electricity, water, and communication to a community. Restoring communication isn’t just important for the community, but it is critical to the success and safety of those working to clean up the damage.

Cell Phones Aren’t Practical

Even though many people feel their cell phone will keep them connected during an emergency, natural disasters absolutely have the potential for damaging the cell phone infrastructure. Emergency responders and cleanup crews are ineffective if they are unable to communicate with a dispatcher, understand a coordinate where assistance is needed, obtain driving or navigation instructions during hazardous conditions, and send a request for supplies. Natural disasters often cause unstable working conditions, such as downed power lines, fragile networks and crumbling structures can create safety hazards. The ability to instantly communicate with one another in these situations can save lives.

Connecting With the Community

Keeping response crews safe isn’t the only job of reliable communications after a natural disaster. If there was very little warning and time to prepare, it is important to connect with schools, churches, businesses, and other installations concerning evacuation, aid, or shelters. Without the dependable system to communicate that isn’t susceptible to drastic weather interference, it can be a dangerous and chaotic situation as the community tries to move to safety and implement preparedness plans.

High-tech Radios

Building out a network for reliable radio communications is a step in the right direction. A RoIP for utility and cleanup crews allows for two way radio communications between men in the field and a central dispatch can speak freely over frequencies not hindered by cellular and telco communication sensitivities. These IP networks for radio communications use low voltage LAN and WAN hardware and have flexibility. With the right devices, crews can establish secure mobile communications and connect in two-way conversations much like a telephone call. In a situation where distance, obstacles, and power failures are interfering with connectivity, RoIP gateways allow for push to talk devices to be connected through a single home base. With options for connectivity from an IP address, it can support the analog radio functions with more reliability, greater reach, and interoperability.

Stay in the Know

There are several ways a community can stay connected following a natural disaster, and a community’s use of all options can improve chances for a faster, safer recovery. Traditional television warnings and cell phone notifications are great ways to stay informed, but in the event the power is out, these may not be received in time. Social media networks can also offer assistance in locating people, understanding the conditions, and sending messages, but once again, this is only effective if there is power or a cell phone has internet service available. Using a radio over IP interface and RoIP for a fleet of utility vehicles will provide you with more reliable communications when you need it most.

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