Comms Recommendations for Neighborhood Emergency Preparedness?
I live in the East Bay area of CA. Several years ago I collected the names and contact information of about 60 individuals on my block for a city-sponsored community emergency response program I took part in.
* Last week, workers hit an underground gas line on my block. Our family bugged out and I struggled to communicate with just a few other neighbors about the situation.
* This week, a 3-alarm fire began in close proximity to a gas station a mile from home. I got the word out via text and email to all the contacts I had, but not as quickly as I’d have liked.
* This weekend, we are expecting hot, dry winds: extreme fire danger.
Do any of you have recommendations for decent (and free?) electronic communications systems or protocols that you’d implement in such circumstances? I want to protect my neighbors from having their contact information stolen or otherwise compromised, and I’d like to be able to share vital information quickly.
Maybe you know how to set up a phone tree and would share that process with me.
My partner has a license for Ham Radio comms, but I don’t. Further, I think that ham isn’t a viable option for most folks around here. While the power’s on, I feel like SMS/email/phone are the best options; I am open to–and grateful for–your opinions on the matter.