- Written by Brian Keahl
- Category: Emergency Communications
- Published: 05 August 2011
- Hits: 2778
Tanner Hospital in Carrollton is currently in the process of negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with ARES. Under this agreement ARES will coordinate the deployment of amateur radio operators to the hospital upon activation by the hospital’s emergency management staff.
Many of you are already ARES members. Those of you who are not please feel free to contact me by clicking on "Contact WX4BK" on the sidebar menu and I’ll send an ARES membership application along to you.
Just to be clear, ARES is an organization that operates interdependently of radio club leadership structure. That being said, there must be a cooperative effort between all radio clubs, amateur radio operators, and ARES. Many of us have been working hard to rebuild our working relationship with ARES and local served agencies like the county and local hospitals. Those who participated in the 2010 Simulated Emergency Test remember a busy day dealing with simulated and real equipment problems in order to complete our part of a three state emergency communications test. State ARES leadership were impressed with how well we did on such short notice. I have faith we’ll continue to impress them with our ability to meet future challenges.
So what challenges does the ARES and hospital agreement pose for us? For starters, there are skills beyond amateur radio we must develop and demonstrate proficiency in. There are also security requirements the hospital must deal with. Remember, these requirements are only to be deployable to the hospital – there are plenty of functions to be performed outside the hospital as well.
Additionally, we will work on cooperative exercises with the hospital. We want to be sure we’re as well prepared as possible. This will be more than just an exercise,
it’s a public relations opportunity. A way to demonstrate to all involved and those watching that we can be a useful resource.
You are probably getting tired of hearing talk of FEMA courses, but I must bring them up yet again. Almost any emergency management organization will require a minimum of FEMA independent study courses IS-100 and IS-700. Most also require IS-200 and IS-800. Specific served agencies may require others.
These are free online courses offered by FEMA. They provide all necessary study materials at the website and the test is taken online. Most people can study the necessary material and take the test for a course in anywhere from three to six hours. I took IS-100 and IS-200 on the same day, so have others. Just think of it as a good way to spend a rainy Saturday. You can see all they offer at: http://training.fema.gov/is/crslist.asp,
The hospital requires All four courses (IS-100, 200, 700, and 800). For those that haven’t taken them yet, or those willing to take a refresher, consider taking IS-100hc and IS-200hc – hospital specific versions of IS-100 and IS-200).
The hospital Emergency Management Coordinator has indicated she also wants operators to take IS-802, which is something FEMA calls “ESF 2”, which stands for “Emergency Support Function 2 (Communications)”. It’s not hard since it largely covers things you need to know to get the Technician class license. This will not be an immediate requirement but will be phased in during the coming year. Statewide ARES also requires this to be considered “deployable” outside of the county, so it wouldn’t be bad to take it once the others are out of the way if you think you’ll want to be at the top of the list to deploy away from home.
Just as there is an IS-802 for communications, there is an IS-808 for hospitals. This is entirely optional, but is desired. I have no doubt that somewhere down the road this will also be phased in as a requirement just as they original IS-100 and IS-700 requirements were later expanded.
Once a person has completed the necessary FEMA courses (IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800) I should be notified. I’ll maintain the list of people until we have enough to submit to the hospital. The hospital will perform a background check. If you have a Georgia Firearms permit I can submit a copy of it to the hospital in place of them having to perform a background check.
Before anyone can be deployed to the hospital they must complete an orientation that will be provided by hospital staff. Only those who have completed the necessary FEMA courses and met the background check requirement may participate in the orientation.