2 Way Radios for Emergency Business Communication

By: Bill Richards

Doesn't it seem like hurricane season lasts longer and does more damage every year? Summertime heat waves and winter ice storms appear more severe than ever?

Natural and man-made catastrophes, can result in emergencies and power outages that last a few hours, a few days or, in the most severe cases, a week or longer. This can cost your business thousands of dollars.

Emergency and public safety organizations like police and fire departments, medical teams and college campus security depend on commercial two way radios. Your business can also turn to commercial two way radios in natural disasters and other emergencies. Two way radios are an economical resource in emergency situations that can possible save your business money!

Why Two Way Radios Are an Excellent Way to Maintain Communication & Keep Your Business Operating During an Emergency.

1. Two way radios do not rely on cell towers like cell phones do. They operate radio to radio independently from any other system. If the power to a cell tower goes out, or the tower is knocked down, you lose cell phone service. Be prepared and use 2 way radios to avoid overloaded cell phone systems in an emergency.

2. Two way radios do not rely on telephone lines. Phone systems can be knocked out just like cell phone towers. If the power goes out to a phone system, or there is a line in the system that is damaged, you lose phone service. Being prepared with 2 way radios will overcome this potential communications issue.

3. If you apply the tips below and use commercial 2 way radios your team can maintain radio communication around a fixed location or campus of buildings without electricity for hours, even days, in an emergency.

So the question becomes: How can you charge your commercial two-way radio batteries when there's no power to draw from?

How to Keep Your Two Way Radio Battery Up and Running During a Power Outage, Crises or Emergency:

1. Be Prepared: Even if you do not use two way radios as part of your regular day to day operation you should keep the batteries for your emergency radios charged and conduct a radio check once a week. The weekly radio check will reinforce how to use the radios and instill good radio habits. A weekly radio check will reveal if there are any equipment or personnel issues. During an emergency having to train personnel will consume rather than conserve battery power.

2. Have Spare Two Way Radio Battery Equipment Available & Handy. Many commercial two way radio chargers have a slot for an additional battery. By keeping two batteries charged you effectively double the useful life of radios in an emergency. Additionally some commercial two way radios can be equipped with standard sized alkaline batteries. These alkaline batteries have a long shelf life and can come in handy if the power outage is lengthy.

PLEASE NOTE: Not all commercial two-way radios can take alkaline batteries. In fact, most can't and only a few have a special "AA" battery holder that fits the radio. Nearly all FRS radios or "Family Radio Service" radios do take alkaline batteries but they do not provide a signal of significant strength and are not recommended for industrial or business users.

3. Charge Your Two Way Radio Battery with Your Computer
If you have an uninterrupted power supply (UPS) battery backup for your computer, it can keep your two way radio working during an emergency crisis or power outage as well. Just plug it in, and you'll have enough power to re-charge your radio battery to last at least a full day, and maybe even more.

We recently tested this process with a common computer battery back up/surge protector unit with Output Power Capacity of 780 Watts / 1300 VA. We charged three full-powered commercial two way radios with the batteries attached along with three extra batteries in the backup slots of three charger cups.

Tip: Make sure to shut down your computer at the first sign of a power outage. It increases the UPS power that you can draw on to charge your 2 way radio battery.

4. Charge Two Way Radio Batteries with your Car or Truck
If it's safe to go outside, you can recharge your two way radio battery in your car or truck by using a re-charger that plugs into the vehicle's cigarette lighter. If the power outage lasts a short while, this can provide enough juice to keep things going during the crisis. But if it looks like the power is going to be out for several days then keep in mind that this is also using your vehicle's fuel and battery.

Tip: Keep the car re-charger for your 2 way radio battery in your vehicle's emergency kit, so it'll be there when you need it!

5. Use the Two Way Radio Solar Rechargeable Battery Option
You can use your two-way radio during a power outage emergency if you have a solar rechargeable battery pack. Solar power is becoming increasingly popular as a source of alternative energy. It doesn't even have to be a bright and sunny day for it to work effectively. Solar power battery recharging kits can service your two way radio batteries.

Tip: Don't wait for an emergency to use your solar re-charger. You should conduct a weekly radio and charger check to detect any problems and fix them before they become problems during an emergency.

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