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Central Marin NRG Radio Network

Print out the latest version of the Radio Channel Assignments, laminate, and keep in your NRG backpack. Be sure to program your radio channel (if new).

​In the event of a local emergency event, such as a far reaching earthquake, neighbors prepare to help each other at the individual NRG level, as well as within the Central NRG Network and the Central Marin Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT).

If the power is out and cellular networks are unavailable, NRGs can use their hand-held radios to communicate amongst themselves and with Central Marin CERT to communicate:

  1. Within our own neighborhoods to check on everyone as well as to make sure our gas lines are secured to prevent fires and water lines are secured to save usable water. 

  2. Within our larger Central Marin NRG radio network. Our NRG radio network gives us an efficient way to connect amongst our neighboring NRGs (6,000 + household members) to rally medical, search and rescue volunteers and supply resources for neighbors in need.

  3. Outside of our neighborhoods to the authorities, to access first responders for life threatening injuries or  uncontrollable fires. Our NRG radio network gives us a direct channel to the Central Marin Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) Command Post and connect up the chain to the Marin County Office of Emergency Services (OES) which manages the county's response in a major disaster. 

Each NRG, CERT and Central Command are assigned unique radio channels to use to avoid overcrowding and interference.

Best Practices

Familiarizing yourself and your team with radios, radio protocol and incident command protocol will enable your NRG response team to run smoothly and work out issues before a major event through regular radio practice. 

Setting Up A NRG Monthly Radio Test

  • The monthly radio test schedule is set up ahead of time and shared with all radio users.

  • Calendar alerts/reminders go out a week before the test.

  • Block Captains and Incident Command members take turns conducting the monthly tests using a script provided for the purpose.

  • For example, the tests are conducted on the third Wednesday of the month at 8:00 PM and the host does not call on people who have notified the NRG Lead that they are unavailable for a particular test.

  • The monthly radio test typically takes no more than 10-15 minutes to conduct.

  • For assistance with the mechanics of setting up a regular radio test contact

Buying Radios

​The recommended radio is the Midland GTX 1000 (aka Midland GXT1000VP4​), 4 watt. Ask the NRG Coordinator if interested in making a larger purchase for a discount.

Using Radios

See NRG Radio Tips and Midland Radio Programming Guide. 

Radio Workshop Resources

NRG Radio Tips
1. Use plain language and a calm tone
​2. Hold radio vertical and talk across (not into) mic
3. Face towards CT so your body doesn’t block signal
4. If your emergency is more urgent than the call in progress, you can interrupt with “Break - Break” 
5. Always pause before transmitting to give another station a chance to break in  Only break in if absolutely necessary, as it is disruptive
6. DO NOT turn off your radio or turn down the volume.  If it is distracting you during an emergency, hand radio to a team member.  If you must turn off, first inform CT 

  • Think what you wish to say in short, clear sentences. Think  “WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHY, WHEN.”  Only report what needs to be reported

  • Push hold/transmit button, count one second and then begin talking  

  • State the name or unit you are trying to reach  

  • Identify yourself by name and cluster or team. Say “Over”

  • Count one second and release the transmit button  

  • Example:  “NRG Command, this is George, Cluster 6, over.”  NRG Command will respond “George, Cluster 6, this is NRG Command, go ahead”

  • Only after you are recognized should you send your message, starting with “NRG Command, this is Cluster 6.  [State your issue.]”   and ending with “Over”

  • When finished communicating, confirm your understanding of info transmitted (by repeating info) and then say  “NRG Command, Cluster 6 Out” 

  • Note - the sender declares the message complete by saying “Out” 

Pro Words

  • “This is”    Identify yourself (e.g., “Cluster 4”)

  • “Over”    I’ve finished and am waiting for a response

  • “Roger”    I understand

  • “Say again”    I don’t understand, please repeat

  • “Out”    I’m done talking and do not expect any response

  • “Wait”    I’m busy and can’t talk at the moment, but will get back to you

  • “Relay”    Notify another station that you hear someone calling them that they   don’t seem to be hearing, then you can relay the message to intended station


  • Make sure you are on agreed-upon channel. Note that radios have subchannels

  • Check for low or dead battery.  Always Carry Extra Batteries

  • Make sure the volume is turned up. Do not Shout - it only distorts the signal

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