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The Poor Woman's Survival Guide



The best bet for communication in an emergency is a Citizen Band (CB) radio set.  You should have a CB station at home and one hand held set for each member of your family

In any emergency situation assume that the land line communications will be down.  Cell phones may or may not be working.
If the land lines or the cell phone network is working then they may be clogged with users.
The best bet for communication with your family is the Citizen Band (CB) radio sets.  You should have a home based CB station and one hand held set for each member of your family.  These hand held radios should be stored where the individual spends the majority of their time.  They should not be stored at home as you will have a home based radio set there.
Adults should have their hand held set stored in their car (if they have a car) and children should keep their set at school. 
If your significant other drives herself to work then her hand held CB should be stored in her car.  If you drive her to work or if she uses public transportation then her CB should be stored at her place of work.
The kids should store their hand held CB's at school.  If they are with dad and in his vehicle when disaster strikes then dad has his.  If they are at home then they can use the home based model.
If your significant other is shopping and using public transportation or if Sara is at a friends house then that could be a problem.  You and your family need to work out the details concerning communication under unusual circumstances.
The land lines and cell phone lines may be clogged but try them anyway.  The kids should leave a message on your voice mail as to their location.
If your family does not have a car and they rely on public transportation the CB's should be stored at work and school.
You should assign a channel that will be used by the family during an emergency.
Each member of your family should have a handle.  A name that they will use when talking on the CB radio.  For example, Sara may choose to call herself "Rose".
When you take the kids to the store they should be taught how to call mom (or dad) at home so they know how to use the hand held set.  They should also be taught how to use the home based model.
Be patient when teaching your kids how to use the radio. Show them how to use it.  Then be patient with them while they try to use it without help from you unless they ask.  Allow them to use it from start to finish.  People learn by doing.
They should use their handle during these calls so that they are familiar with their handle.
Assign a channel, ahead of time, for use by your family during an emergency.  Most CB's have 22 channels, choose any channel but channel 9.  Channel 9 is used for contacting people then they switch to another channel to talk to each other.  In an emergency channel 9 will probably be clogged.
The designated channel should be taped to the home based and hand held CB's.
Always remember, you will not be alone on your CB radio.  Others may be listening.  Try not to give any information out that other's can use to harm you or your family.
For example, your daughter is at school.  Sara can use her first name, or her handle, and say that she is at school waiting for you.  She should not mention the name of the school as you know what school she attends. 
I do not know the range of a home set, different models have different ranges, but you can buy hand held CB's with a 20+ mile range.  They are not cheap but they are worth the investment.
Hand held CB radios may not be the best option but they may be the only option available during an emergency.
If you are at work when the emergency arises and the land lines and cell phones are not working or clogged with users how will you communicate with your family if your wife is at work and your children are at school.
The first thing each member of your family should do during an emergency is turn on their hand held CB radio and tune in to the designated channel.
Every one in the family should turn on their hand held sets even if they know they are out of range of other family members.  Mom or dad may be enroute to pick them up.