Chapter and Zone resources include AMSC satellite units in each chapter. These units provide dial tone into the Public Switched
Telephone Network and are our best means of providing information from the disaster scene in the first few hours. These units support data, fax and voice.
Some chapters have NASA satellite hardware which provides similar dial tone and also can be used to make "broadcast" type announcements since all units are on the same frequency.
National Headquarters can also provide Inmarsat A, B, C units which are packaged as "fly-away" push packs. These would be requested when the local infrastructure is totally overloaded and not expected to be brought up in a few days. Examples would be major earthquakes, wildfires in heavily populated areas, etc.
Red Cross Radio Systems
Since 1940, disaster relief organizations have been able to use a common frequency within the US and its Trust Territories. This frequency is 47.42 MHz (simplex). Red Cross has over 200 vehicles in the US equipped with this radio, and most of the 1300 Red Cross facilities also have this capability. Obviously the advantage is that these vehicles have the ability to communicate no matter how far they have been dispatched. In a big hurricane we may send 100 vehicles to the area from many states away, so the ability to communicate is critical.
We have augmented the 47.42 MHz system with linking to UHF so that we may extend the range and by using handheld UHF transceivers having the ability to link or unlink the systems.
Red Cross has 10 dedicated frequencies between 2 MHz and 7 MHz that can be used when the need is to communicate between long distances, i.e. a hurricane net that spans many states, areas within California where other terrestrial radios perform poorly etc.