During emergencies or disasters the normal ways of communicating like telephone land lines and cellular phones often become overloaded and may not work. Sometimes a disaster will impact these resources directly and cause outages that are devastating to emergency response efforts. Citizens should know that 911 may not work in a disaster.
Emergency Notification Systems are in place to let the public know about instructions from local government meant to save lives and protect property. These include messages put out on NOAA Weather Radios (available at Wal Mart, K Mart and Radio Shack), local radio stations and the CodeRedreverse notification system. The newspapers and VTV may also be used. Emergency Management will also put information on the hotline number, 781-4911, as well as this website, Facebook and Twitter.
Emergency communications resources are designed to augment those normal communications resources during times of need and are connected to emergency power systems to ensure that responders can still talk to each other. They also enable the exchange of critical information between decision-making officials for the coordination of local, state and federal disaster response and recovery actions.
Volunteer Ham radio operators (ARES) are trained and exercised on a regular basis and can provide volunteers to supplement communications in an emergency. They may operate radio equipment installed in Emergency Operations Centers and at other strategic locations.