Frequently Asked Questions

Is there a need for emergency communication in my ward or stake?

When an emergency occurs, leaders need the ability to immediately communicate with members, missionaries, and civil and Church authorities to provide status reports or to request assistance. A reliable emergency communication system should be in place if regular telephone or cell phone service fails.

If we typically do not have natural disasters in our area, why should we include emergency communication in our ward and stake emergency plans?

In addition to a natural disaster, an emergency may occur anywhere and without warning. Examples include hazardous material spills, fires, power failure, and terrorist attacks. Consider which emergencies are possible in your location and identify specific ways to communicate in these types of emergencies.

What is the job description of a ward or stake emergency communication specialist?

Leaders may choose to call a ward or stake emergency communication specialist from their community to assist with planning and implementing communication plans. Emergency communication specialists provide training and ensure the readiness of communication equipment. Emergency communication specialists may be invited to participate in ward and stake communication discussions as directed by leaders.

Will my mobile telephone work in an emergency?

The mobile telephone is an effective tool for communication under normal circumstances. However, in a disaster, mobile telephone systems often fail due to overload, damage, and loss of power. Mobile telephone providers will restore service following a disaster, but it may take several hours, days, or weeks.

Should wards and stakes purchase or accept a donated satellite telephone or amateur radio equipment for use in an emergency?

No. Wards and stakes should not purchase or accept donated satellite telephone or amateur radio equipment for use in an emergency or for installation in a meetinghouse. Leaders are encouraged to identify individuals who may already have their own equipment to assist with specific ward and stake communication needs. No permanent installation of equipment, including antennas, is to be made in any Church meetinghouse. Exceptions must be approved by the Meetinghouse Standard Plans Committee.

What information should be reported to leaders following an emergency?

Leaders should be prepared to report the nature of the disaster, the welfare of members and missionaries, the condition of meetinghouses, and any requests for assistance.

A member of the Mercury Amateur Radio Association (MARA) approached me with an offer to provide communication services and an emergency communications plan template for my stake. What relationship does the Church have with MARA, and is it appropriate to utilize MARA or other similar organizations in my emergency planning?

Priesthood leaders may utilize resources outside of the Church organization to assist in emergency communication planning as appropriate. A leader may also choose to call a member of MARA or another amateur radio organization to serve as a ward or stake communication specialist under priesthood direction. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints has no formal relationship with any amateur radio organizations or clubs, but may find the training and experience of Church members who belong to these organizations useful during an actual emergency. As a reminder, amateur radio clubs or associations, including MARA, may not use Church meetinghouses to hold association meetings or other club events, as this could be interpreted as a form of remuneration and could possibly be a violation of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations.