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Letters To The Editor

Alternative Communications?

Dear Editor,

During a disaster situation such as Hurricane Sandy or Katrina, or the tornadoes that have ripped through the United States the past several years, or any SHTF scenario, communications are one of the first things down yet the most necessary utility we need to keep up with family members and friends. What alternatives to cell phones and telephones do we have?

GH

 

Dear GH,

Keeping up with family and friends is difficult even in the best of circumstances. Trying to track them down when everything is in chaos is next to impossible. However, if you’ve made contingency plans on what to do in a SHTF scenario, then there are several ways to keep in touch:

  • Walkie talkies: Two-way radios (FRS/GMRS radios) have come a long way and many have ranges that are quite impressive. They are good for short-range communications and in optimum conditions, can work as far as 30+ miles apart, depending on the terrain.
  • CB Radios:  CB radios have an average range of about 12 miles, but again, that depends on the size of your antenna, the weather, and whether or not you’re boosting your signal in any way. I can remember speaking with my husband on a CB radio years ago and we were many more miles apart than 12 miles. Can be used in conjunction with a solar power system (in the event of a power outage).
  • Ham Radios: Ham radios require licensing and training, but if you’re serious about your communication options after a SHTF scenario, a Ham radio cannot be beat. Our state preparedness network has training sessions for Ham operators throughout the year. Check in your area for your local Ham radio network.

Thanks for writing!

The Editor

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Setbacks for Wells and Septic Systems?

Dear Editor,

I want to put in a well close to the house. How much distance should there be between my well and my septic system?

RS

Dear RS,

Each state has different requirements and you’ll need to contact your state department of health (or whatever department manages your wastewater and water regulations in your state). For example, in North Carolina, the state says keep a 100 ft protected area around any well. However, Wisconsin’s guidelines say keep a well 25 feet from the septic tank itself and 50 feet away from any of the field lines. Then there are state health systems that can’t tell you an answer to that question if their life depended on it.

Another consideration is the type of soil you have. For instance, if you have sandy soil, pollutants can travel faster and farther than they can in clay soils. Each area is different and it’s really not possible for me to answer your question with a definitive number that’s universal. I’d do my research carefully on this subject before deciding where to put your well. The health of your family depends on it.

Thanks for writing,

The Editor

 

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One comment

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