Principles of Disaster Communication
It is impossible to state exact rules that will cover every situation that arises. The good amateur faced with a disaster situation may, however, benefit greatly from certain rules of thumb.
- Keep the QRM level down. In a disaster, many of the most crucial stations will be weak in signal strength. It is most essential that all other stations remain silent unless they are called upon. Listen much, transmit little.
- Monitor established disaster frequencies. For Steele County, the Owatonna repeater (145.490) is the primary frequency. When you are not otherwise engaged, it is helpful simply to sit and listen on such frequencies.
- Avoid spreading rumors, state only facts, and don't "broadcast.". Rumors are started by expansion, deletion, amplification or modification of words, exaggeration or interpretation. Think before you talk. Anyone with an inexpensive public-service-band receiver can monitor.
- Every message which purports to be of an official nature should be written and signed. Authenticated transmissions should be repeated word for word, and only when specifically authorized. We do the communicating; the agency officials we serve supply the content of the communications.
- Articulate, don't slur. Speak close to your mike, but talk across it, not into it. Keep your voice down. In an emergency situation one often gets excited and tends to shout.
- Use all communications channels intelligently. Observe the "pause" procedure between exchanges.