- Written by Brian Keahl
- Category: Emergency Communications
- Published: 18 November 2011
- Hits: 2990
During the past year we have discussed a variety of issues related to EMCOMM and the variety of missions available for Amateur Radio operators. We’ve even discussed non-emergency involvement in community events, field day, fox hunts, and balloon launches.
Recent discussions with various Amateur Radio operators has made me realize that I’ve not done a good job of discussing the various roles an amateur radio operator can play.
Everyone has different levels of knowledge, experience, skills, and even physical abilities that influence how and where they can, and should, participate.
Not everyone needs to be deployable to the hospital to be involved in EMCOMM, nor do they need to necessarily take all the FEMA courses previously discussed. Some will not want to take all the courses, others are not likely to be able to deploy in an emergency, and others may just not be interested in working in that environment. That’s okay, there are other ways to help. That being said, I want to continue to encourage those who are interested to take those courses and pass the FEMA certificates along to me. We’re still a few folks shy of the target number for the team.
Not everyone will want to deploy to the EOC or fire stations or any other location during an emergency. After all, there are physical, financial, and personal reasons why deployments may not be practical for all persons.
ARES and EMCOMM, especially for local emergencies (which is our primary concern), is much like the military in that not every soldier is on the battlefield. There is a wide variety of support functions required to facilitate the effectiveness of deployed operators.
For those that have physical limitations, we always need Net Control operators, liaisons to other nets, people to keep logs, etc. During an extended emergency control stations will need to be relieved, requiring not just one or two people to handle Net Operation, but a team of people accustomed to taking control of a net and relinquishing it to their relief.
Weather Nets have been a little light this year, however in prior years we have had hazardous weather conditions a weekly, and even daily basis – and storm spotting can, and usually is, done from home.
All of these differing interests and contributions to the cause may not bee needed in every emergency, but often will be.
For instance, deployment to the hospital will most likely occur because hazardous weather has damaged communications infrastructure. Weather so severe has probably also caused significant damage and injury – possibly requiring information to be relayed between the hospital and EOC or between shelters here and other locations.
This scenario may require deployment of the Hospital and EOC teams, but would still leave us with a need for continued storm spotting, the associated weather net, stations to relay information to the National Weather Service and the EOC – especially if local communications are down, we may be the only source of potentially hazardous weather information.
And that’s just one of many possible scenarios.
So, regardless of any particular operator’s level of training, physical ability, or ability to leave their home during an emergency, an amateur radio operator is a valuable asset.