How to Prepare for a National Emergency

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We have heard rumors of a National Emergency. A National Emergency can mean a variety of different things. As such, we need to know what it means and how to prepare for a National Emergency.

What is a National Emergency?

When we hear the words national emergency, many of us begin to panic and think this means martial law. A national emergency does not necessarily mean there will be martial law; however, it doesn’t mean that there won’t be. 

A national emergency situation is declared by the president. It gives the government, specifically the president, powers to perform action that it normally isn’t permitted to do. 

It is declared during a national crisis or when situations threaten the country and call for an immediate response. 

How to Prepare for a National Emergency

What Powers Does It Give the President?

There are over 136 statutory powers that emergency declarations could give the president. The president could have powers that relate to everything from military, land, public health, and agriculture.

For example, the president could shut down local radio stations or suspend a law that prohibits the testing of chemical and biological weapons on human subjects.

So basically, a lot of powers. Most of the powers used have been to impose sanctions, deploy the military, and sending money as needed to rectify a situation. 

What Constitutes a National Emergency? 

This is a really tricky question! What constitutes an emergency is up for debate. The president must use the existing laws to justify a declaration. In fact, there are national emergencies that are still in effect today! National emergencies are reviewed and renewed annually. 

Here are a few of the national emergencies that we have currently in place that were issued by the last 4 presidents:

  • Clinton-Blocking Iranian Property (sanctions)
  • Clinton-Proliferation of Weapons of Mass Destruction (arms)
  • Bush-Terrorist Attacks (military)
  • Bush– Protecting development fund for Iraq (legal)
  • Obama-Blocking property of person’s threatening the peace of Yemen (sanctions)
  • Obama– Blocking property of person’s contributing to situations in Ukraine (sanctions)
  • Trump-Southern Border of the United States (military)
  • Trump– Novel Coronavirus Disease (public health)

You can find the National Emergencies Act of 1976, here

Put it All Together

A declaration of national emergency is a tough one to put all together because it is so broad. But, let me try to explain it where it makes a little more sense:

  1. The president can declare a national emergency if any situation threatens our country.
  2. Most powers over situations are voted upon in the house and senate and then signed by the president. 
  3. In a state of emergency, the president cannot wait on Congress to agree before acting on the situation. 
  4. The state of emergency grants the president powers over that situation specifically, not powers over everything. 
  5. Congress can stop the president from getting these powers if both the house and senate vote in a supermajority. Basically everyone has to agree. 
  6. The Supreme Court can stop the president from getting the powers if the declaration is deemed unconstitutional. 
  7. The president still has checks and balances. 
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How to Prepare for a National Emergency

As you can see above, the president can declare a national emergency for almost anything. Additionally, it grants him certain powers over the situation that he would not normally have.

A president could potentially abuse those powers, and it could take time for Congress and/or the supreme court to stop him. Because of this potential, it is always important for you to prepare. 

As you can tell, we still have multiple states of emergencies ongoing. There are 31 to be exact! For most of those,  martial law was not issued, and for the most part, we haven’t directly been affected by them. However, luck favors the prepared. 

Here are a few ways you can prepare when you hear there could be a national emergency:

#1 Figure Out Communication

As stated above, the president could shut down radio stations. This means he could shut down forms of communication, such as cell towers. Make sure you have a plan with your family to communicate. This could be a meeting place if communication is shut down or having a walkie talkie for more local communication. Other forms of communication should be considered based on your location and financial situation since it may mean purchasing some equipment.

#2 Have Enough Food and Water

A state of emergency has to be reevaluated every 6-months. This means that if SHTF gets really bad, you will want to make sure you can survive for 6-months. During a state of emergency, there could be curfews or stores could be shut down preventing you from getting essential items you need.

Could you feed you and your family 3 meals a day for 6-months without going to the store? Do you have at least 4-gallons of water per person per day in your household for 6-months? If not, you need to consider how to move in the direction and make sure you start stocking up an item at a time. 

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#3 Medications for National Emergency

Some of us are on medications that keep us alive, such as insulin. It may be difficult to stock up on prescription medications because they only get filled once a month or once every 90 days. If you want to be prepared, you can discuss this with your doctor and figure out how to increase your inventory.

Depending on the doctor you have, your doctor may be willing to send in more than what you need in the short term so you have some to store away. All you can do is ask. 

#4 OTC Medications

We tend to only get things like Tylenol and cough medicine when we need it. But, you will want to make sure you have a variety of different OTC medications that can handle indigestion, the flu, sunburn, other burns, cuts, and scrapes, etc.

#5 Hygiene Products

Shampoo, conditioner, soap, pads, and deodorant are things we use almost daily. You will want to make sure you have enough stored up in case you can’t make it to a store to get more for several weeks or months. Again, just try buying a few at a time. Also, plan where you can properly store the new items.

#6 First Aid Kits

I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t want to be trying to go to the doctor or hospital if we have the military patrolling the streets. Make sure you have a first aid kit and know how to take care of a non life threatening situation. I recommend always having super glue! 

Preparation Posts to Read

If you are looking for more detailed preparedness information, please read the following posts from my blog:

How to Prepare for a National Emergency

Final Word

A national emergency doesn’t necessarily mean we are in a panic situation where we live. However, by being prepared for other SHTF scenarios like natural disasters, job loss, or even a pandemic, we will have what we need to survive if a national emergency affects where we live and work. Remember, luck favors the prepared, and a plan is even better. May God Bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Police Crime Scene AdobeStock_113822290

42 thoughts on “How to Prepare for a National Emergency

  • January 17, 2021 at 7:08 am
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    Good list:
    Stay focused on the task at hand which should only be related to taking care of you and yours.
    Don’t get caught up and think your going to fix whatever at the National level by a singular action.
    We are all emotional about politics and current events but don’t lose sight of what’s important and that’s those around you.
    Be smart, stay safe

    Reply
    • January 17, 2021 at 7:18 am
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      That was supposed to say Hi.

      Reply
    • January 17, 2021 at 7:59 am
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      Hi Matt, thank you!! I’m staying home and contacting friends to be smart, stay healthy, stock up, and turn off the TV intermittently. I’m asking them to pray to their God for our police officers, first responders, military men, and women. Linda

      Reply
  • January 17, 2021 at 7:17 am
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    HI Linda! Great post today. Especially during this time of unrest over the election and all the other stuff going on. Thank you so much for all you do to help us prepare.

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    • January 17, 2021 at 8:05 am
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      Hi Deborah, I have to stay off Facebook because it’s so negative (some of it). I have the Food Storage Moms group so I check that a few times a day. Thank you for your kind words, we must be able to help each other right now. It can be a kind word like you left today! Hugs, Linda

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      • January 17, 2021 at 11:23 am
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        I’m not on Facebook and haven’t been in a long while now. As in years. It was too negative for me, and would make my blood pressure rise at some of the posts. I finally just got off for good. I do miss keeping up with some of my school friends and some family members, but not the negative stuff.

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        • January 17, 2021 at 12:29 pm
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          Hi Deborah, I hear you on FaceBook. Crazy times. My question is this, how does the President of the United States have ALL of his social media platforms shut down. Never in my life would I have ever believed that would happen. I didn’t follow him, but really? I thought we lived in the USA! I just shake my head. What happened to Freedom of Speech?? God help us, that’s all that’s left. Linda

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          • January 17, 2021 at 1:20 pm
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            I guess it depends on who you are and what you say. I feel we as a country are going to hell in a hand basket! We the people, need to take charge, I just don’t know how to do it without a war. Or violence. I feel like the government has too much authority, and we have none. Just my opinion. I don’t want to take over the government. It’s scary what some of our politicians are doing.

          • January 17, 2021 at 4:25 pm
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            Hi Deborah, I totally agree with you. I’m seeing things I never in my lifetime could even dream up these things! I would love to see some of the state/national government leaders go without a paycheck for weeks or months. I do not think our country will ever recover. I used to be optimistic but let’s be real, who is going to pay all this debt back. There are no words for how I feel right now. Linda

          • January 19, 2021 at 6:45 am
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            I hesitate to go down this road, but thought I had to speak up.

            Freedom of Speech is part of the First Amendment and it says:

            Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

            Since Facebook, Twitter, etc. aren’t government entities they aren’t required to follow the first amendment. While they are plenty of laws they do have to follow, they are allowed to kick anyone they want off their service(s).

            This isn’t to say I agree with the actions taken, but from a constitutional point of view they are completely within their rights to do this.

          • January 19, 2021 at 7:01 am
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            Hi DmWalsh, thank you for sharing this. My husband and I were just talking about it. You are so right, Facebook, Twitter, or whatever has every right to take them down because they are NOT a government entity. They have their own Terms of Service and those who use those platforms must abide by their rules. I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve been so “bugged” that someone could take down the President’s FaceBook and Twitter and whatever else. I had to step back and think it through. You spelled it out perfectly. Thank you, my friend, Linda

  • January 17, 2021 at 9:13 am
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    Stay home, if possible. Limit your news to certain times. Play games, watch movies.

    Reply
    • January 17, 2021 at 9:15 am
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      Hi Janet, I totally agree with you! Netflix has become my new best friend!! I’m staying home too! Stay safe, Linda

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      • January 17, 2021 at 12:35 pm
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        I understand. Whenever we have to go out, we try and keep safe by wearing masks and taking hand sanitizer.

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        • January 17, 2021 at 4:15 pm
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          Hi Janet, we have to in order to stay healthy. If nothing else the virus has taught a few people to wash their hands! Linda

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    • January 17, 2021 at 11:26 am
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      Janet, I agree with staying home as much as possible. But I have to do the errands in our household. Hubby can’t ride even the 5 miles to town without paying the price for 2 days after.

      I always wear my mask, and use my hand sanitizer with germ fighting essential oils in it.

      Reply
      • January 17, 2021 at 4:00 pm
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        Janet! No problem.

        Reply
  • January 17, 2021 at 11:19 am
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    Anyone who doesn’t believe we are in the most frightening of times is crazy! I stay as prepared as I can for all sorts of issues and will remain that way.

    Don’t forget to have cash on hand – It is entirely possible that the president could shut down banks. I pray that is not something that will happen but… We have to be prepared to be independent of banks as well as grocery stores, the fuel pump, etc. Think – what if scenarios: what if I cannot get to the bank (it is closed or I am out of fuel or I am ill to the point of not being able to leave my home); what if I cannot…name the issue. I know that we have all had issues in 2020 that prevented us from going where we wanted to when we wanted to so that has given most of us at least a taste of what could happen in the future.

    I am with Janet – I limit how much time I spend listening to the news! My newest friend is YouTube!! so much on there that interests me – no movies so much as documentaries.

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    • January 17, 2021 at 12:24 pm
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      Hi Leanne, oh I watch all the Netflix documentaries, now I need to see them on YouTube!! Thanks for the tip! Cash is critical, most of know that but newbies would not. I will try to remember and add it to the post. Thanks for the reminder! Linda

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    • January 17, 2021 at 12:46 pm
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      My husband and I are lucky enough to have cash on hand but it’s in hundred dollar bills. That’s not going help unless what we get is over $100. We’ve had quite a bit of counterfeiting here in our area and already no Bills are being taken. I go along with Linda-make sure you have small denominations.

      I don’t “do” social media ever, so I’m at a loss to what alot of people are talking about. I hear mostly negative things about it, hurtful, snarky comments, etc. so I’m glad I never got on it. This site is as much as I ever do online and I’m sooo grateful for it! It keeps me sane. I also have stopped watching/reading the news. I’m sure if something catastrophic happened or something I needed to know right away, my kids would tell me or someone would!

      Everyone out there stay safe! I did hear from some friends that 20 out of 27 senior missionary couples in Nauvoo have Covid-19 and they’re all in lockdown. This thing isn’t going away anytime soon so we don’t need to drop our guards…stay vigilent!

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      • January 17, 2021 at 4:18 pm
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        Hi Robbie, as far as cash, I’m not sure anymore what will be good or bad. Small bills, large bills, or no bills at all. Crazy times, we do indeed need to be diligent. Please stay home if at all possible. Linda

        Reply
  • January 17, 2021 at 11:22 am
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    Good list but I might add toothpaste, several toothbrushes and Fixodent for those that have dentures. If you cannot keep your teeth and mouth clean your teeth will rot and it could kill you. Why not add some deodorant sticks as well. It would make it nicer for your people to be around you.❣

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    • January 17, 2021 at 11:51 am
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      I agree, Diane! I cannot tolerate my mouth being dirty!! I always save the toothbrushes and little tubes of toothpaste as well as floss that the dentist gives out when I go for a cleaning. I probably have 15 + toothbrushes and paste in my preps over and above what I use on a daily basis.

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    • January 17, 2021 at 12:26 pm
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      Hi Diane, I totally agree with you about dental care stuff! We all feel better after showering and brushing our teeth. Deodorant is a must! Great reminder, Linda

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      • January 17, 2021 at 1:58 pm
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        I make my own deodorant and have made my own toothpaste. I have at least 4 extra tooth brushes. I do keep one in my purse. I know, it just me. We do have extra toothpaste as well. And shampoo. We need to stock our hygiene supplies along with our food stuff and cleaning supplies. They are all necessary. Again just my opinion.

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  • January 17, 2021 at 2:29 pm
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    Hi all, One of the things DH and I have done when traveling (family ALL over the States) is the take the soap and stuff home with us that the hotels provide their guests.They just toss that stuff if you don’t use it due to Health and Safety laws. As we bring our own soap, shampoo with us due to allergies, I’d collect them in a small tote and then we’d donate them to the homeless shelters , women shelters but the last few years, the places have been getting the donations directly from the areas hotels now. A friend runs one of the shelters here and let me know that they get the things now so I now donate other things they need IE: socks, combs,etc. So I have a small tote that I keep in the storage that has the bars of soap, shampoo,etc as back ups for the bath stuff I already have. You’d be surprised how that stuff adds up. And as an FYI check with your military family members that maybe deployed to “hot” spots. They may appreciate getting those things too. Had a friend , who’s wife was deployed, retired now, sent her a CARE package with those things in it along with the little sewing kits, shower caps etc. some of the hotels would put in the bathrooms. I also added a few things to it like hard candy, travel size deodorants and toothpaste. It was much appreciated.

    Reply
    • January 17, 2021 at 4:33 pm
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      Hi Kathy, what a great reminder to save those hotel/motel soaps, lotions, and shampoos. I love it! My husband and I with the local civic club get supplies from hotels to fill bags for the homeless. We need more CARE packages for sure. Linda

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      • January 17, 2021 at 5:11 pm
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        You’re welcome. We had a guest a year or so (before Covid) come to stay with us. He packed everything but his deodorant. Had some of those travel sizes in the bathroom drawer so he didn’t have to run out and buy some. And invariably one of Son1’s 2 older kids will forget something, (they pack their own bags) so it helps to have a “stash ” of those little soaps, shampoo for them, they ARE getting better but this last time GRD1 forgot her baby toothbrush (needs a REALLY soft brush) for her braces, luckily I had some in the bin she could use. The one thing the women’s shelters here request most often are period supplies and diapers. I get some strange looks in the store when I have both period supplies, diapers and tinkle pads in my cart, LOL. Had an older lady tell me what a sweet thing I was getting moms supplies, by the way I don’t look my age. Told her the tinkle pads were mine and the others were for the womens shelter.

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        • January 17, 2021 at 7:28 pm
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          Hi Kathy, this is the best comment ever! I remember being in high school and putting period supplies in the grocery cart and prayed no one would see them. Now when I buy them for my storage I throw those suckers in and don’t think one think about it! I have grown up a lot!! LOL! Life is good! Linda

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          • January 17, 2021 at 11:48 pm
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            Yup It is good.Gotta find the humor in everyday life or I’d truly go nuts.

          • January 18, 2021 at 4:26 am
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            Hi Kathy, I know right?? I love to laugh and giggle so when those opportunities come up, I love it! Linda

  • January 17, 2021 at 4:46 pm
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    Linda, I totally understand how you’re feeling. I think a lot of us are feeling it. I’ll be going to the bank tomorrow. We have some rolls of quarters we can use if need be. Plus other rolls. Our oldest granddaughter is coming to see us tomorrow with her son. She’s almost 30, and he’s almost 5 she’ll be shopping in our pantry some. She’s a single mom. She does have a photography business and she is getting child support. At least there’s that. I’m more scared for the younger generations that don’t know how to do what we older generations have lived with. Scratch cooking and stocking up.

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    • January 17, 2021 at 7:24 pm
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      Hi Deborah, I get emails every few months asking if I can come and teach different church groups how to cook from scratch. I always decline because, #1 you can’t teach people to cook from scratch in a one-hour class, #2 I feel strongly they need to teach their congregation weekly if need be. I love seeing our grandkids, you will have so much fun with them tomorrow! Life is so good! Linda

      Reply
  • January 18, 2021 at 7:44 am
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    This is great information, you just never know what will happen in the great old USA. Best to be as prepared as possible.

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    • January 18, 2021 at 9:24 am
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      Hi Jess, I totally agree, we must be prepared NOW! Stay home if possible and stay safe. Linda

      Reply
  • January 18, 2021 at 10:11 pm
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    Perhaps the most important item a family can have, regarding sanitation, is “camp” toilet because if things get really bad water may not flow from your tap.

    Having a HAM license and radio could keep you in contact with distant loved ones provided repeater stations aren’t shut down.

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    • January 19, 2021 at 5:25 am
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      Hi Ray, I wondered whether the repeater stations could be should down. I realize if the cell phone provider’s towers are compromised obviously our cell phones will not work. I have two “camp” toilets. Great reminders, thank you, Linda

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      • January 19, 2021 at 7:00 am
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        Unless the repeater stations are prepared for off-grid operations, then chances are once the electrical grid goes down so will the repeaters. But if the grid stays up any orders to shutdown the telephone or cellular networks wouldn’t impact the independent repeaters (which are usually run by small ham groups.)
        All that said, I still don’t have any HAM gear or a license yet…one of those to-do items that keeps getting pushed to the bottom of the list, below food, medicine, etc…. I’ve been more focused on preparing to be as self-reliant as possible and wish-list items are getting short shrift. Sure it’d be great to be able to talk to my dad in an emergency, but if things are really bad it would take me over a week to walk to his home to give him any help. Not ideal, but we do what we can.

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        • January 19, 2021 at 7:20 am
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          Hi DmWalsh, I think I bought the Ham Radio book about 10 years ago. I wanted to study the book and take the test. I’ve been more focused on everything else as well. I feel like with everything going on right now, it’s at the bottom of my to-do list. It is what it is. Great comment, Linda

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      • January 19, 2021 at 7:56 am
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        I would guess, but do not know for sure, that the FCC has the power to shut down repeater stations. Whether or not they actually did so would depend on how authoritarian the government becomes and how badly they want to restrict free speech. Of course if we got hit with a big enough EMP or Carrington Event that could also shut them down. We keep a spare pair of two-way radios in a faraday cage, and when I get another hand-held HAM radio I’ll put it in there as well.

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        • January 19, 2021 at 9:56 am
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          Hi Ray, I have to agree with you, we do not know how our country is going to go. Life is never going to be the same, I hope I’m wrong. Linda

          Reply

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