A two-hour hike on the Pacific Crest Trail turned dangerous for one woman who was in an unfamiliar country and ill-prepared for the weather.
Katharina G. of Germany, was alone, surrounded by snow and sleet and trapped 5,000 feet up on a mountain in Washington.
Realizing the dire situation, Katharina sent her parents and friends messages on the popular messaging app WhatsApp, telling them she was sorry for dying on the trail and being stupid for even going hiking in bad weather.
Even though she couldn’t make phone calls, Katharina was also able to communicate with a friend in Washington who was able to relay to rescuers the general area where Katharina was.
After a night in the cold, Katharina was spotted by a helicopter rescue team and airlifted safely out of the area.
Clearly, Katharina’s WhatsApp communication played a big role in saving her life. The fact is, during a disaster, communication is unquestionably a huge key to survival.
From the start of an impending disaster, having the ability to learn real time information and the ability to locate your family and friends is of the utmost importance.
You and I know that for the majority of folks, their number one method of communication is going to be their cell phone.
But, no form of communication is foolproof and as we’ve learned during previous disasters, cell phone towers can easily be knocked out or even overloaded so they no longer work.
For this reason, I always recommend having multiple forms of communication during an emergency such as a satellite phone or a two-way radio.
Now, I think a two-way radio is the best option since you can give these to each family member and communicate in real time no matter what the conditions are outside.
The drawback to a SAT phone is that they aren’t always reliable and you need to have a clear view of the sky. But, if you can afford it, I’d still recommend getting both.
One of my favorite radios is the Baofeng UV-5R, which sells for about $35 on Amazon… for now. You see, on September 30th, 2019, courtesy of the FCC, it will become illegal to sell radios such as this one that operate in the FRS radio band.
In other words, manufacturers will have to stop selling these radios or somehow block out the FRS band. To be clear, any that are legally owned on or before September 30th will effectively become “grandfathered” in.
But going forward, the FCC doesn’t want non-licensed individuals to own radios that can transmit in both licensed bands and unlicensed bands.
If I were you, I would buy a few Baofeng UV-5R radios while they are still available and affordable. Right now, you can buy five Baofeng UV-5R radios for $115 on Amazon, which breaks down to only $23 per radio.
This way, you will have one for each family member or have a backup in case of an emergency. The longer you wait, the more you will pay for these survival radios, which is why I personally own over 10 of them.