Emergency communications

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Following a disaster communication often becomes an urgent need because normal communication channels become overloaded or disrupted while the need to account for Members, Missionaries, Homes and Buildings, and to manage relief efforts increases.

The intent of this wiki is to provide information regarding emergency communications for priesthood leaders, communications specialists and technology specialists. This site is not a substitute for the information provided at and in the Church handbooks.[1] Some of the information presented here will not be applicable for everyone as the membership density and communication means available vary greatly throughout our worldwide church.

Why is this wiki here on

The skills of this technical community are very beneficial to help others provide communications in an emergency using every available means. Please feel free to contribute.

Emergency communication methods

The method of communications will vary depending on location, damage and various other conditions. Thus a combination of all available methods may be advised. It is important to use the best method that will get the message through in a timely manner.

To Do: As we create articles for the various EmComm subjects, link to them in a table here.


A land-line or cellular telephone is the primary method in an emergency. However, these may be inoperable, intermittent or ineffective.


If Internet access is available then e-mail can be an effective emergency communication method. Even though the Internet is functional at your location be aware that it may not be functional for all of those whom you need to contact.

Text messaging

A text message sent from a cellular telephone can often get through even though a voice connection cannot be made due to the reduced bandwidth and the ability for the message to be stored and then sent when service becomes available.


Physically carrying a copy of a message from one location to another can often be most effective if the area of the unit can be reasonably covered by runners. A runner can use whatever transportation method is available including automobiles, bicycles and walking on foot.

Amateur radio

When all other communication methods fail, amateur radio (HAM) has proven to be extremely effective and reliable. Amateur radio operators provide their own equipment and expertise, and they practice and prepare to provide emergency communications.

Emergency service is one of the basics of the Amateur Radio Service and there is sometimes some confusion (see about ARES, the ARRL arm of emergency services and RACES, the government arm of amateur emergency services.  RACES stands for "Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service," a protocol created by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC Part 97, Section 407). The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes.

The church has an emergency communications organization that includes amateur radio operators at church headquarters and select Bishop Storehouses specifically trained to provide Emergency Response Communications (ERC).

Emergency communication plans

Guideline for emergency communication plans for Stakes/Districts and Wards/Branches can be found at in the Emergency Preparedness and Response section.

To Do: Add information to this section that is consistent with Emergency Communications section at

Disaster communication stories

To Do: Do you have true stories of emergency communication successes or failures?


  1. See Handbook 2, Section 18.3.7 and Section 21.2.3.
This page was last modified on 9 September 2015, at 06:57.

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