Would You Be Prepared for a Communications Blackout?

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Co-Author of SHTF Survival Bootcamp

Recent events have made us aware that the potential for communications interruptions or blackouts is undoubtedly on the rise. What a lot of people are now realizing, unfortunately, is that access to certain communications platforms is not a right and is not guaranteed. Many people have recently become comfortable with using only a few platforms for the vast majority of their communications.

And in normal times, that’s okay. But we must have contingency and backup plans for alternative means of communication. These times are anything but normal. While we certainly hope that Jan. 20th is peaceful tensions in the United States are running high. It would not be outside the realm of possibility for a communications blackout to occur on Inauguration Day.

Are you prepared for that possibility?

Pillar #5: Communications and Signaling

Today let’s look at a specific pillar of The Seven Pillars of Urban Preparedness.

We advocate the growth of our Seven Pillars evenly and uniformly. What that means is not fixating on any one pillar to the detriment of the others. However, different pillars will come more into focus, as circumstances dictate.

We imagine, in the last few weeks, if not months, the medical and hygiene pillar has been of particular interest and concern for people. It has probably been the area hitting the hardest recently due to the basic message of the pandemic: wash your hands, keep your distance, etc.

But what I want to share today is our communications and signaling pillar.

Recently we’ve seen a mass movement, understandably, of people downloading certain apps, Telegram and Signal being the two most prominent. Back at the beginning of the pandemic, we’d already named and endorsed those for people to use as alternative communications. But not just those two exist. There is a multitude of communications apps, not only for the phone but also for additional communication methods. It is definitely wise to look at your options.

I had an interesting conversation yesterday going all the way back to landlines. Who has a landline anymore? That’s a great question. Maybe you don’t have a landline, or more likely, you just don’t have the phone plugged into the landline anymore. There is probably a landline coming into your house, you just haven’t used it for a while. That landline can be a great thing to dust off and check out. Contact your telecommunications provider. Better yet, go buy a cheap phone and plug it in and dial your mobile to see if it works.

Once you’ve done that you will have the number for your landline on your mobile phone. Call that number back from your mobile and see if it works. If it does work, of course, make sure you share that number with people.

Another option is ham radio. Do you have your license and your equipment? Learn more about it here.

What if you have no access to communications?

Something that’s often overlooked is having a “no-communication plan.”

What happens if you become limited in your communications ability, or the communications you have are no longer working?

For example, back in 2007, after the London Underground bombings, an entire sector of the cellular network was shut down for security for some period of time. The technology to do that absolutely exists. And it’s definitely embedded within the software platforms.

It is not unreasonable to think there can be a complete communications blackout on a regional or larger scale. The danger there is the panic associated with it. Once people can’t communicate, they start to panic.

If you do not have a plan, now is the perfect time to create one. Make sure you’ve got hard copies of the details of those plans. As I mentioned in my previous article, there should be a walk-through-talk-through so that everybody knows what the plan is, where the details are kept and how it’s gonna work.

If you have a plan for what can happen if you can’t communicate and have shared that plan with people it will help stave off panic. Your plan helps you manage the stress of the situation. People will think, ” Okay. I can’t get in touch with anyone right now. But in advance I let people know where I was, what my movements are, and what my intention is in the event of a disaster or a compromise situation. I’m going to move from here to here, or I’m going to sit tight.” By doing this it helps relax people a little bit because they will have a better idea of what’s going on with individuals and loved ones that are of concern to them.

January 20th: Be Prepared

I am not going to label January 20th as exceptionally special. However, I absolutely anticipate there could be communications, glitches, if not blackouts associated with the inauguration in the United States and beyond. I want to make it clear, we don’t want to fixate on a specific scenario.

This is simply something you should have factored in already as a basic possibility. No matter the circumstances that drive it, you should already have these alternative communication plans, and a no communication plan.

What we’re highlighting today is this,: dust it all off if you’ve got it and check that everything is still working and the numbers are still valid.

What are your plans?

Do you have a no-communication plan? Are you ready to implement one now? Let us know in the comments below.

About Toby

Toby has an extensive background in the military, emergency services, risk management, and business continuity, combined with applied wilderness and urban survival skills. He discusses personal safety, security, and the crossover of military skills to the average civilian. He is the co-author of SHTF Survival Boot Camp.

Would You Be Prepared for a Communications Blackout?
Toby Cowern

Toby Cowern

Toby Cowern has an extensive background in the military, emergency services, risk management, and business continuity, combined with applied wilderness and urban survival skills. He discusses personal safety, security, and the crossover of military skills to the average civilian.

Leave a Reply

  • We aren’t saying what the plans are because everything is deemed evil and under attack.
    Y’all stay safe

  • We don’t have a formal plan, but we do have multiple resources. We will just run down the list and use whichever ones are working:

    1) cellphone
    2) landline phone
    3) internet
    4) ham radio (I’m licensed and practice regularly, and have an inconspicuous antenna)
    5) FRS/GMRS radio
    6) police scanner
    7) shortwave receiver

    All but #3 can be run for at least a few hours even when mains power has failed. We have several days of battery backup for #4, #6, and #7. Nothing here is wildly exotic or expensive, and we’ve actually tried out everything on the list at least once. The key is diversity of resources and lots of batteries.

    We also have a few cheap FRS radios (with batteries) that we can distribute to neighbors to help organize the ‘hood if the situation warrants that.

    • “an inconspicuous antenna”

      ? the signals aren’t inconspicuous. “hey, there’s a signal right there, looks like 123 prepper street. go get’m shaquita, and let’s cut power to that address until we get it cleaned up.”

    • Something else you can do: wardriving. Using a laptop with a wireless card and plugged into a power inverter plugged into your car’s cigarette lighter, you drive around town looking for public internet access points. While those might or might not also be shut down depending on why exactly your internet has been cut off at home, it at least opens up the possibility you can get back on the internet in the event of an outage.

      Of course, it’s best to avoid using any logins while you’re on a public network, but you can at least do things like looking up breaking news on news sites to get some idea of what’s going on in your area.

  • Spoke to the small, very small, number of family that think something could happen and made a plan who was going to who if need be.

    Please stay safe everyone! God bless you all and may He give you discernment, wisdom and protection.

  • With no reliable source of independent news, all that will be left is socialist propaganda” “Ministry of truth”.. MSNBC, CNN,& the Alphabet minions nightmare stew.
    headline-news/it-starts-seattle-fire-will-go-door-to-door-to-adult-family-homes-administer-covid-19-vaccines

    • “that will be left is socialist propaganda” “Ministry of truth”.. MSNBC, CNN,& the Alphabet minions”

      betcher ass, there will be NO blackout of the lies.

    • from your link (thank you, btw)

      In this first step, Fire Department paramedics will go door to door at adult family homes not served by a “federal partnership with CVS and Walgreens”.

      Federal partnership? What the hell is that?

      • The Federal Partnership is Walgreens and CVS are inoculating from their facilities at the government’s request/maybe paid? Dunno.
        Either way that’s where you go to get the vaccine if you choose.

  • How about writing an article with a few ideas for communication when things go wrong?
    Here are 2 ideas: 1 – if a family unit has at least one person that still has a landline, then the goal could be to use a commercial office phone to contact that number and let that one family member know they’re okay. They can track the well being of everyone or not and communicate pertinent information among the use. 2- buy a set of walkie talkies and as long as group members are within range, they can use a prescribed channel and communicate.

  • YEAH, the time to post this was when we first suspected Biden of stealing the election,

    or after the Capitol Riots,

    NOT THE DAY BEFORE WE EXPECT IT TO HAPPEN!

    So much for allowing people to prepare!

      • thought ahead several months ago, got long range walkie talkies put them 2 my new Faraday box right now, just need to get the walkie talkies to the kids who live within miles = they will think I have lost my mind!!! I am a 62 Yold gramma, but I saw the writing on the wall. ready for that EMP from the Chicoms
        other things you can do easily right now = get VPn, & encrypted email, build faraday cage from metal trash can $20

  • Have some comms in place, still studying for my license, but if SHTF, a license will be the least of my worries.

    Right now, it’s keep my head down, and my mouth shut. Other than to check and answer messages/email, I stay off the Net.

  • How would those who shut down the communication grid carry out their plans? Not saying they won’t shut down the comm grid, but just wondering how they would operate. Dark web maybe?

    • “How would those who shut down the communication grid carry out their plans?”

      simple. they’ll shut it down for YOU. not for themselves and their operatives – THEY will have plenty of comms, all registered and listed so that non-authorized comms stand out and get located and dealt with.

  • I would write a letter and send it snail mail.

    Otherwise, for those of us old enough, think back to when pay phones were common, internet was dial-up phone modem. We did not need to communicate/text/email every 5 minutes.

    If the radio is down too, then there is not much I can do about anything anyways outside of my circle and nothing I can do about something happening a few hundred miles from me.
    There would likely be a lot of bad info running around, so take it all with a grain of salt.
    Dogs still need walked. Livestock still need fed and watered. Fires still need tending to. Dinner still needs to be made.

  • “Who has a landline anymore?”

    nobody. even if you have a phone that plugs into the wall that whole system transfers off of wires and onto signal towers at first opportunity. it’s all wireless now.

    • This is incorrect. My daughter discovered she had a working landline installed with her internet just 2 months ago.

      • I have a landline and the technology has not changed since having it installed 18 years ago.

        I only recently got a smart phone as my old flip phone died.

  • “I am not going to label January 20th as exceptionally special”

    then I will. today is the last day of the last legitimate president of the united states. from this day we have no president, just a doppelgänger fronting for a tribal cabal.

  • “Once people can’t communicate, they start to panic”

    actually most people just stand around and do nothing.

    also they’ll latch onto the leftist propaganda more heavily, since they’re used to being fed info and are used to accepting whatever they hear.

    • Beg to differ… without their cell phones, those of the younger generation will have a total meltdown. Look at that girl in the hotel in New York who flipped out on the black kid when she thought he stole her phone. Or a teenager who has his/her phone taken away for a few days as a punishment.
      We’ll survive… they’ll be crying in a corner, sucking their thumb. Unfortunately, there are more than a few adults who will be there with them.

    • theoretically that’s how it’s done.

      “It is vain for you to rise up early,
      To retire late,
      To eat the bread of painful labors;
      For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.”
      psalm 127:2

  • @ gman, I have a landline as well, for the past 38 years. Still works the same.
    I’ll be able to sleep better tonight knowing the man that caused all the hate in America is gone!

  • They government can use encrypted satellite, direct point to point beam or micro burst transmissions.

    The rail system has a encrypted and locked wifi to track trains.

    You and I on other hand are limited best for long is ham but they can drop repeaters.some are grid tied.

    Short is cb and wireless like walkie talkie.

    Medium is one cb or wireless from a big base station with a larger antenna array.

    There is an app called zello for cell walkie talkie capabilities but I have no experience is a cell grid down with that program.

    As for complaining no answers after water food heat and defense you should have com gear even if a simple recieve only shortwave capable radio.

    • @Namelus,

      I use Zello, I’m a licensed ham operator but anyone can use it, it’s basically an integrating app that allows connection of ham (digital and analog systems) with cell phones. It’s possible to talk phone-phone individually and in groups, in this case it works as a walkie talkie. Or connect a ham to a cell and integrate both nets. But it depends on the cell phone network being up.

  • I AM COMMENTING ON THIS BECAUSE THE RELEVANCE HAS INCREASED EXPONENTIALLY BY RECENT EVENTS. THE ATTACK ON OUR INFRASTRUCTURE COMPUTER SYSTEMS WAS I I BELIEVE A LETTING DOWN OF OUR GAURD FROM THE INSIDE. SOME OF WHAT I HAVE READ HAS STATED THAT IT WAS (AND STILL IS) GOING ON FOR OVER A YEAR. WITH THIS THEY NOT ONLY MAY HAVE CONTROL OF OUR SYSTEMS BUT HOW WE WILL REACT TO DIFFERENT FORMS OF ATTACK. ADDITIONALLY, THERE MAY BE NO WAY TO EVER KNOW IF THE SYSTEMS ARE PURGED WITHOUT COMPLETE REPLACEMENT. THE MOST ALARMING THING ABOUT THIS IS THE LACK OF SURPRISE OR CONCERN. IT WAS ONE OF THE ITEMS THAT MADE ME COME OUT WITH “THE BIG RESET”.
    IT IS MY BELIEF THAT “THE BIG RESET” WAS STALLED BY THE TRUMP ELECTION. THE UNDERMINING OF THIS COUNTRY IS VITAL TO ITS SUCCESS OF THEIR OVERALL GOALS. IF I WAS A BETTING MAN I WOULD SAY THE ELECTRICAL SYSTEM WILL BE FIRST AS THE COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS WOULD AUTOMATICALLY GO DOWN WITH IT. FEW TOWERS HAVE BACK UP POWER SYSTEMS AND WE SAW HOW RELIABLE OUR PHONES WERE WHEN 911 HAPPENED.
    IM NOT SURE IF THERE IS ANY FIX, I HAVE A COUPLE SETS OF PORTABLE MULTI BANDS AND HAVE A STAND BY HAM RADIO. FOR SHORTER COMMUNICATIONS THE PORTABLES ARE LIMITED IN SCOPE AND NATURE THE SHORT WAVE BULKY AND TRACEABLE THE OTHER SOLUTIONS ARE COSTLY AND TO ME NOT WORTH IT. MY OTHER WORRY IS THEY ARE ALL TRACEABLE. THE MORE SOPHISTICATED THE EASIER TO TRACE.
    THOSE WHO STUDIED THE IRAQ INVASION KNOW WE KNOCKED OUT THEIR ENTIRE GRID WITH A VARIETY OF WEAPONS SOME WE KNOW ABOUT AND SOME WE DON’T. WE KNOW HOW SOFT THAT MADE THE COUNTRY.
    WITHOUT SAT PHONES OR MORE SOPHISTICATED DEVICES I CAN’T THINK OF ANYTHING REALLY FEASIBLE, PRACTICAL AND JAM PROOF.
    ANY SOLUTION SHOULD CONSIDER THE RISK OF USE VRS BENEFITS OF IT, I GUESS BECAUSE I AM OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN WE ALL DIDN’T CARRY PHONES AND FUNCTIONED JUST FINE I AM NOT TO WORRIED ABOUT THEM. IT WILL ALL DEPEND ON THE CIRCUMSTANCES. I WOULD NOT USE A PHONE EVER UNLESS AN EMERGENCY UNDER ANY TYPE OF ATTACK. I DON’T TRUST THEM NOW I DEFINITELY WON’T TRUST THEM THEN.
    I DON’T THINK WE WILL HAVE LONG TO WAIT THE SWEARING IN OF THE TRAITOR AND HIS FIRST ACTIONS MAKE THIS LOOK LIKE ITS GOING TO GO FASTER THAN I EXPECTED. I HAVEN’T TOLD MY WIFE YET BUT THE SLIPPERY SLOPE ISN’T LOOKING TO FAR AWAY, A BULLET WAS AVOIDED AT THE ABOMINATION INAUGURATION BUT IF ITS NOT US THEY WILL HAVE THE RIOTS START UP AGAIN AND JUSTIFY MARSHALL LAW THAT WAY
    THEY HAVE TO ELIMINATE THE US BEFORE THEY PROCEED AND MOST PEOPLE DON’T EVEN KNOW WHAT “THE BIG RESET” IS YET, LET ALONE WHO IS BEHIND IT. WELL UNTIL THEN KEEP YOU STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS CLOSE AND YOU ENEMIES CLOSER. TRY TO PROTECT THE VOTE WITH LOCAL ACTIVITY AND HOPE WE GET ANOTHER CHANCE.OTHER THAN THAT PRAY.

    • The all caps tells me you’re yelling. Not very effective way to make your points. Maybe try it again using normal capitalization and it might get more people to seriously consider your message.

  • Daisy,

    You have heard from me before and I am trying to warn as many people that I can. In the past I didn’t want to spread fear and dread like our government. However, its not time to pull punches. In the past I have tried to expose “The Great Reset” now I am going to put that burden on you. You can warn people and help them prepare. It is my belief people have the right to know the truth about what is going on. You are a reader and so I am I, only I would call myself a researcher. I refer you and your readers to Kerry: “The Great Reset” as a starting point. From there you will have access to pages of statements from Obama to Fauci about what “The Great Reset” is and some of the people behind it. Since the cyber attack I believe that time is not on our side anymore. We have to get people this information any way we can. I don’t know if it will do any good as the people listening to you may not be who needs to be informed. However, it is a start. i hope you will help with my endeavor, it is time for all good people to come together as time is running out. The arrogance we see on parade and the out right boldness of Shummer’s statement “today Georgia tomorrow the World” along with the cyber attack means they are close. 26,000 troops for a virtual abomination inauguration and what Biden did in 24 hours isn’t just shocking it’s completely radical. If your not paying attention what is happening should be a slap in the face. It hasn’t been and people seem to be in shock. I have been trying to get it out over Twitter without out success. I am barely on twitter other than to comment and I believe they are having trouble censoring me but so far there is little reaction. I will keep trying until they kick me off. You are a reader, go to “The Great Reset” and judge for yourself, they have not been quiet about their goals and objectives. The information isn’t hiding. Please look for yourself and Judge.

  • Our local telco will no longer sell a landline. Our neighbors had a landline, but after a wildfire a couple of years ago burned the local wiring, the telco refused to repair it. We tried to get a landline, but ending up having to get a voip phone. We wanted a regular phone that our kids could use to call 911 for emergencies.

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