Carry Your ID on Playa
While Black Rock City is a magical place where you can be whomever or whatever you want, there are still instances where you’ll want to carry a valid ID, including but not limited to:
- If you get hurt on playa and are transported while unconscious, we can identify you.
- In case you get arrested and have to prove your identity to law enforcement.
- If you’re lucky enough to look under 21 and want a drink in any camp that serves alcohol.
- If you are driving a motor vehicle of any kind — including Mutant Vehicles.
“911” Service in Black Rock City — Best Ways to Get Help Fast
If you have an emergency in Black Rock City, the fastest way to get help is to flag down a Black Rock Ranger, a member of law enforcement, any other event staff or volunteer with a radio or send someone to fetch help at a Ranger Outpost or medical station. Cell service in BRC is spotty at best, and if you are able to connect via 911, it will take time for them to contact law enforcement on the playa.
That said, there is a way to directly call for help since the Emergency Services Department’s on-site emergency dispatch center monitors a designated emergency channel on the license-free MURS (Multi User Radio Service) radio band.
MURS is a service similar to FRS (Family Radio Service, the frequencies that Motorola Talkabouts and similar inexpensive radios use) though MURS operates at a higher power output for greater range. FRS channels are extremely overcrowded, and they’re used by thousands of participants during the event. Reasons to choose MURS:
- If you’re part of a large theme camp, it’s a good investment to have a MURS radio around to call ESD emergency dispatch for your group, especially if you have members who have known health issues or the risk of injury is of special concern.
- Large art projects working on the open playa will be able to get help faster.
- Camps that are on the outer-rings of the city and far from an Emergency Services station don’t have to send runners for help when an emergency arises.
- It’s the only way for the public to contact Black Rock City’s emergency dispatch directly.
To call ESD, switch your MURS radio to channel 5 (154.600 MHz, CTCSS/PL 97.4) and report your emergency. Please limit your personal use to MURS channels 1-4.
Are you planning on using a two-way radio (greater than five watts) for any reason on the playa? Emergency Services coordinates spectrum to avoid interference between various public safety radio infrastructure. Please note that in general ESD does not coordinate AM or FM broadcast radio, WiFi, HAM, FRS, GMRS, CB, or RC bands. However if you are planning a high power radio application in any of these bands, please let us know so we can isolate your signal in case of interference. Contact ESD Communications at 911burningmanorg (911burningmanorg) if you have questions or to register your frequency request.
Sending and Receiving Emergency Messages on Playa
Cell service gets progressively less reliable on the playa. (And you shouldn’t be using it anyway, because “Immediacy”).
Should someone need to urgently contact you, they can email href="911burningmanorg">911burningmanorg. Messages will be passed to Black Rock Rangers who will attempt to deliver them. If you’re awaiting news or anticipating an emergency message, you can also check Playa Info in Center Camp.
Make sure your family has all your details before you leave for the playa, including:
- First and last name as well as any known nickname that you might go by around camp (Do they know your playa name?)
- Name of your theme camp or other affiliation (volunteer team, etc.) and its location.
- A description of your vehicle (if you drove in), including make, model, color and license plate
- Any other unique features that will help with the search (such as, “camp has a 20 foot inflatable alien,” etc.)
As a last resort, you can purchase a $20 pass and drive to Gerlach to use a pay phone, cellular phone or take advantage of the free WiFi coverage there. Or rent a satellite phone.