December 2023

Photo credit: Tammy Cobb
Location: Springs Park, Delavan, WI

Focus of the Month – Communication

Reading Recommendations:
Non-fiction book – Personal Emergency Communications by Andrew Baze
Fiction book — Behind the Curve by Boyd Craven

Often, when we use the term communication, the immediate connotation is conversing in some way with another person. And that’s definitely one part of the equation. But there’s also just listening and gathering information from whatever sources are available.

Information is one of the most powerful and valuable assets you can have in a crisis. By definition, you can’t make an informed decision without it. Therefore, it makes sense to do what you can ahead of time to try to ensure you’ll be able to learn as much as possible about the situation when it hits.

Here’s a short article that talks about a few of the options available for two-way communication during an emergency.

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The non-fiction book selection this month is Personal Emergency Communications by Andrew Baze. This is a great introduction to the various communication tools available to us, from amateur radio to walkie talkies and more. It will help guide you through the decision as to which options will be best for your unique situation.

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Boyd Craven is a very prolific novelist, and Behind the Curve: Book 1 – The Farm is the first in one of his newest series. Here, a pandemic leads to a total collapse, one that happens so slow that people can see it happening day by day. A group of people pools their resources to purchase land and prepare for the hard times to come. But, they had no idea just how difficult it would be.

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December 6 – Family Communication Plan

I know it sounds obvious, but in the event of a crisis you’re going to want to coordinate with your loved ones. The problem is that doing so might be easier said than done. Hopefully, it will be a simple matter of calling or texting. But as the saying goes, hope for the best and plan for the worst.

The 3-3-3 Plan

This one is easy for people to remember. Every three hours (3:00, 6:00, 9:00, 12:00), at the top of the hour tune the radio to Channel 3 and attempt contact for at least three minutes. The idea is that you’re conserving power with the radio equipment, rather than it running nonstop for hours on end.

What you deem to be Channel 3 is up to you. If you’re using CB or handheld radios, that’s easy. But otherwise, you can alter this to suit what you’re using. The critical piece here is the targeted timeframe for attempted communication. It doesn’t need to be an actual Channel 3, just make sure everyone is on the same page as to what will be used.

Rally Point

Part of the communications plan needs to be instruction on what to do if you can’t get in touch with each other. If home is not safe or reachable, there should be at least one offsite location designated as a rally point or meeting place for your family. The goal is to have everyone know where to go if home isn’t a viable option.

Where you choose this location to be is up to you, but it should be a place familiar to everyone involved. It could be the home of a family member or maybe a favorite restaurant. Stick with a place that is likely to be open and accessible.

Social Media Resources

If you can’t get a phone signal, you might still be able to get online, whether through a direct connection to your service provider or through the use of a wi-fi signal from a local business. If you can get online, you can access social media and use that to get in touch with family and friends. Many social media apps, such as Facebook, allow for direct messaging. You can also toss up a post to let people know you’re okay or that you need help.


In the last several years, Zello has risen to become one of the most popular communication apps available. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina hitting the southern United States in 2005, Zello was used by several rescue agencies, officially sanctioned as well as amateur volunteers. As a result, it was featured in many news stories and became widely recommended. However, there’s something many people don’t understand about Zello and similar apps. They do need a way to access the Internet in order to function. Without wi-fi or data service from your cell provider, Zello isn’t going to work.

The most important takeaway here is that everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to emergency communication. Everyone involved needs to know how to get in touch with one another and where to look for messages.

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December 10 – Conflict Resolution

I have long believed that communication skills are among the most important, yet least practiced, survival skill sets. They are applicable across the board, both now and down the road. Here’s an article that outlines several strategies you can use.