“The past is a foreign country,” author L.P. Hartley famously wrote in his book The Go-Between. Perhaps that’s why we hold on to the postcards…
On Sunday, September 13, at 8 pm, TCEP—Topanga Coalition for Emergency Preparedness— will test its new, more capable Top-of-the-Hour (TOTH) report transmitter on FRS radio channel 15.
When TCEP is activated during major emergencies, the organization transmits emergency status updates at the top of every hour on FRS radio channel 15. The reports are about five minutes long and summarize the emergency updates that are also posted on t-cep.org/emergencystatus and on TCEP’s 310-455-3000 telephone hotline.
“The TOTH report is a way for you to get verified information about an unfolding emergency—including official evacuation orders—through inexpensive, battery-powered FRS radios, even if the electrical grid is down and all other forms of communication, including cell phones, landline phones, internet and TV are dark,” TCEP announced.
All Topanga residents are encouraged to listen to this test transmission, as a way to check if they can hear the TOTH report from home or other locations around the canyon. Participants are requested to listen only, not respond.
Before the September 13 8 p.m. test:
• Confirm that your FRS radio can receive channel 15. Some older radios only receive up to channel 14. If that’s the case for your radio, you’ll need to purchase a new radio with extended channel capabilities.
• Make sure your FRS radio is charged up or has fresh batteries installed.
• Turn off all tones, sub-codes and privacy channels on your radio (see your radio’s manual). If your channel display reads anything other than 15-0, or 15, you will not be able to hear the TOTH report.
• Channel 15 is LISTEN ONLY. Each neighborhood in Topanga has been assigned a specific FRS channel for local, two-way communication. Find your local FRS channel in the Topanga Disaster Survival Guide on pages 96-97.
At 7:59 pm on September 13:
•Turn on your FRS radio and tune to channel 15.
• Make sure the volume is up.
• If you can’t hear anything, try moving to a different location on your property. Moving to a higher elevation may help. FRS radios are “line of sight” units, so mountains and obstacles can interfere with reception.
• During the test, note what you can or can’t hear and how clear the transmission is.
After the test, please complete a short, 1-minute anonymous online survey about your TOTH experience. This will help us to pinpoint areas of the canyon that are having trouble receiving the transmission and enable us to fine-tune the system so more people can receive the TOTH report. Survey link to come.
TCEP volunteers thank you for participating in this test!