Technical Considerations

THINK ABOUT USING OR INTEGRATING TRIED – AND – TRUE TECHNOLOGIES

The simplest solution is often best. Many communications technologies, such as community radio stations and amateur (Ham) radio can be resilient, reach many people, and are already in use in many places. Community radio stations such as LPFM and college radio may enable broadcast of live bulletins and updates in multiple languages, to many communities at once. Public access (PEG) cable channels have a similar large reach, and often have many volunteers who can produce video programming quickly in multiple languages. Ham radio operators are often already involved in emergency and recovery operations planning on a volunteer basis. They are also usually very eager to teach others about amateur radio and emergency communications.

PLAN FOR LOSS OF ELECTRICITY

In many emergency scenarios, critical systems such as electricity may be unreliable or may fail completely. Consider what would happen if the power were out. What sources of backup power are available? If you are working with an always-on communications technology, such as a network, can any parts of it stay on and connected if the power goes out? Battery backup and solar power can be very expensive, but some individuals or organizations may have solar power already. Simple Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) systems can also help routers or network equipment stay operational during short outages. Make sure people in your community have emergency radios-such as battery-powered or hand-crank FM radios. Those hand-crank radios that have USB chargers are even better!

PLAN FOR THE UNEXPECTED

When planning and organizing your community technology project, take emergencies into account. When a disaster strikes, many people many need assistance all at once. Designing websites or services for general communications is important, as well as making sure these services can be used on mobile devices, such as smartphones. In an mergency, that may be all that is available to people. Think about types of risks beforehand — is your neighborhood near water, where flooding is a risk? What services are people most likely to need, based on the types of disasters that may strike?

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