Principles of Disaster Communications

Having an amateur radio license does not automatically make you an asset in a disaster.   Knowing how to use your radio, having the ability to stay on the air after an event, and taking the time to practice communications skills during drills and public service events will help you become a value when all else fails, and amateur radio is truly the only solution.

  • Keep the non-critical communications level down.
  • If you’re not sure you should transmit, don’t.
  • Study the situation by listening.
  • Don’t transmit unless you are sure you can help by doing so.
  • Don’t ever break into a net just to inform the control station you are there if needed.
  • Monitor established disaster frequencies.
  • On CW, SOS is universally recognized.
  • On voice, “MAYDAY” or “EMERGENCY” is universally recognized. – to avoid confusion do not use the term “Break” or “Break Break”
  • Avoid spreading rumors.
  • Authenticate all messages.
  • Strive for efficiency – Know what you want to say before you key the microphone
  • Select the mode and band to suit the need.