If you received CERT training and are not a ham radio operator, you are strongly encouraged to get a FRS radio. FRS stands for Family Radio Service. These radios are very cheap and easy to use. They do not require a license to use. Please make sure that the FRS radio you buy has PL tone capability. The city needs as many CERT people to have a FRS radio and know how to use it. The reason for this is in case of an emergency, your cell phone may not work. We want to know how your are responding to the emergency. We want to know if you need help.
We want to start a monthly or weekly radio event where you use your FRS radio to call into the Placentia City net operators so you get to know how to use this radio. If this sounds intimidating, it is NOT. We will explain to you step by step how to participate. Ham radio operators are expected to also wear a FRS radio so they can offer aid to CERT members.
NOTE 1: Currently Placentia is using Channel 3 with a PL Tone of 3. “FRS radios should have provisions for using sub-audible tone squelch (CTCSS and DCS) codes. When a PL tone is turned on, it filters out unwanted chatter from other users on the same frequency. Although these codes are sometimes called “privacy codes” or “private line codes” (PL codes), they offer no protection from eavesdropping and are only intended to help reduce unwanted audio when sharing busy channels.” Placentia uses PL tone #3 to really cut down on hearing other radio chatter.
NOTE 2: If we can get enough interest in using FRS radios among CERT members, we will start having monthly or weekly radio check in. This should help you determine if your equipment is working and over time you will pick up how to improve your radio communication skills.