LAFD CERT Radio Communications Plan

In a disaster, how can CERT members communicate directly with the LAFD and the City of Los Angeles?

Revised September 7th, 2016

Version 4.2 improves the Bureau Level organization, makes certain changes to conform to the TASMA 2m Band Plan, and increases the geographical separation between some of the frequencies. It is considerably different from the previous plan and should be programmed into your radios as soon as possible.

The LAFD CERT Communications Plan (Comm Plan) was developed to enable CERT volunteers with portable radio equipment to communicate directly with the LAFD and the City of Los Angeles. It is designed to be robust and capable of handling multiple incidents in multiple Battalions simultaneously.

In a regional emergency, like an earthquake or other disturbance, there’s a very good chance our communications systems will fail. Experience in other disasters and emergencies tell us that the cell phone system will fail, land line phones (if still connected) will work sporadically at best, and the Internet will generally be inaccessible. There’s a good chance the power will fail over significant areas for considerable time – for days, maybe. And if it’s a big earthquake, experts tell us communications and power could be out for many days – 10 or more. And if it’s a really big earthquake, it could be a week or 10 days before any professional help arrives. We could be on our own to take care of ourselves and our neighbors, and that’s what CERT is all about.

This is an Emergency Communications Plan. It is designed to be used when normal communications are unavailable or inconvenient. If the cellular phone system is working and it is appropriate to do so, use your cell phones. If the 911 system is working and you see an incident that requires emergency services, call 911 to report your incident. When normal communications fail, the CERT Communications Plan provides an alternative communications path.

This Communications Plan will enable you and your CERT group to communicate with the LAFD at the local Originating Fire Station, Battalion, Division, and Department Levels, and if necessary, pass messages to and from other City of Los Angeles Departments at the Emergency Operations Center. You will be the eyes and ears and communicators for your incidents, and your participation could be invaluable.

We all know the Big One and other regional disruptions are coming and we all know that emergency services to our neighborhoods will be disrupted, possibly for days.

We can play an important role as the eyes and ears of the LAFD and the City. The information we transmit through this Communications Plan will help the emergency managers understand the nature and scope of the emergency so they can plan their responses and allocate their resources efficiently. It will take commitment, training, and practice, but we can do it.

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