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How to Use Your Two-Way Radio During Emergency Situations

How to Use Your Two-Way Radio During Emergency Situations
By Ben Burns May 21, 2019

Post updated on 9/9/2019

Recently team members from Discount Two-Way Radio had the pleasure of attending a seminar that focused on how schools can better prepare themselves for a major emergency. The seminar, called “Preparing for the Unthinkable” was sponsored by Campus Safety Magazine and featured John Weinstein, Lieutenant/Commander for Northern Virginia Community College.

The information presented was fascinating and at the same time incredibly sobering. Lieutenant Weinstein described many types of emergencies that can occur on school campuses including the most horrible of them all: an active shooter.

The bottom line to the seminar was that while the odds of being in the middle of a major emergency are a longshot, it is not out-of-the-question to see a calm day suddenly turn into complete chaos. Therefore, being prepared and having a plan are two of the best ways to mitigate an unexpected catastrophe. A specific part of these two strategies is to incorporate communications technology into your safety preparedness plan.


“There are many different types of communication tools these days, but one of the best tools you can incorporate is two-way radio technology. Two-way radios are effective for immediate communication and many radios include safety features that allow you to communicate silently or send out an alarm to other radios. However, I’ve seen situations where the radios worked fine, but the people using them didn’t have any training on how to use two-way radios in an emergency. In those cases, the radios become more of a liability than a resource. That’s why everybody should have some basic training for how to use two-way radios during an emergency,” said Lt. Weinstein during the conference’s question and answer session.


Best Two-Way Radio Practices During an Emergency

So, we thought it would be a good idea to present a quick primer on some basic two-way radio practices to include as part of overall emergency or crisis planning. Sure, some of these may seem like common sense, but remember that during emergency situations, sometimes even the most obvious practices can get lost.Take a couple of minutes to review these practices and review them with your colleagues to reinforce your safety planning.


#1: Make Your Radio Your Friend
While two-way radios are very straight forward, they do have certain features that can help you during an emergency. Take some time to learn how they function and what features your device has. Even practice using it as if you were in an emergency.


#2: Talk Less and Listen More
Many people feel the need be heard when handling a two-way radio. However, during an emergency it’s critical to listen more than talk. Should you need to communicate, be brief and efficient with your words, knowing what you are going to say before talking into the radio. Many people forget that when you use the push-to-talk button, other people can’t talk.


#3: Keep the Politeness for the Dinner Table
Again, brevity is the key to good two-way radio communication during a crisis. There is no need to use words like “please” or “thank you”.


#4: Say It Again Sam
Remember repetition creates clarity, so repeat back what you heard to make sure everyone’s on the same page. .


#5: Give Some Space
When you first press the push to talk button, there can be a short delay before your radio transmits which could result in your first couple of words being cut off. So always wait a second or two before speaking to be sure your listeners receive your whole message.


#6: Do You Speak Radio?

It helps two-way radio communication when everyone understands and uses similar language and etiquette. Know these words and start using them when using the radio.

  • Over – I’ve finished speaking
  • Say Again – Repeat your last message
  • Stand-by – I acknowledge your transmission, but can’t respond right now
  • Go ahead – I can respond, go ahead with your message
  • Roger – message received and understood
  • Affirmative / Negative – Yes / No



Remember our team of two way radio experts at Discount Two-Way Radio is always available to give you the best advice and the best prices anywhere on all RCA two-way radio equipment. Call us today 800-895-5122 and ask about one of our latest promotions.