The Amateur Radio Services is a national partner of the American Red Cross. We are excited to be a part of their annual simulated emergency test, and feel that this will help us communicate and respond more efficiently the next time there is a disaster or emergency in our area. Thank you Amateur Radio Services for all of your help!
The American Red Cross of Central Texas and Travis County Amateur Radio will partner to replicate a disaster scenario on Saturday, November 5, 2011 from 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m at the Gus Garcia Recreation Center and the American Red Cross of Central Texas offices. The purpose is to practice response and support capacity with the use of area Amateur Radio operators, also known as “hams”.
Using emergency powered radios and working with local agencies, the hams will have only a few hours to create extensive radio communication networks which can be used should there be a failure or overload of normal services. The hams’ ability to get back “on the air” quickly is critical following major incidents. In addition, the ham radio operators provide “interoperability”. This means they can pass information between the many government and volunteer agencies which are needed in disasters but often have incompatible communication systems.
Amateur Radio volunteer operators around the country respond to many calls for aid every year. They provide their services and equipment free of charge to their communities, saving both lives and thousands of dollars for neighbors. During Hurricane Irene, the hams were critical in providing immediate, ground-level reports to the National Weather Service. After the storm, hams continued to provide help in the many flooded communities and areas that lost electric power.
There is no doubt that these operators take their work very seriously. They are “Amateurs” only in that they are not paid, but their service in a disaster can be priceless.