Preparing for a Disaster

As many of you know a few were honored to attend a training session put on by the department of homeland security called Auxcom. It was training to to help the ham community and other radio services learn to communicate when disasters happen. The old saying is hams will work when nothing else does, this is true, but there is so much more to it than that and this course helped us to understand the many different services we can provide and how we provide that service. It is also our responsibility to help the emergency service providers understand who we are, what we are capable of, and how we can use those capabilities to help them save lives. Many of have had other training to be more involved and can be an important tool when it comes to saving lives.

We live in a region where we are relatively blessed with tranquility most of the time. We normally do not have major destructive storms like they have in the south, we generally are not a target of terrorism, and we are not a major industrial area. However, any and all of these thing could happen here. We have two major rail lines that pass thru GI, we have a blossoming ethanol industry, and we have seen the destructive power of tornadoes here. It is incumbant on all of us to take these possibilities seriously and we as a club need to get ourselves organized. If participation is low that we need to find a way to get others involved.

So with that, here are a few things we should start doing right away. We need to write and adopt a SOP, one that has been written with the knowledge and input of our emergency personal whom we will be working with, Agreements should be obtained with our sister clubs on use of equipment, and a general training regimen should be instituted.

There is a lot we can do to help. But it does take a little bit of commitment. You will as a ham, have to have credentials. You will have to pass background checks. In today’s day and age, with liability and all that goes with putting yourself out there,  just showing up in an emergency is likely not going to be useful to anyone. Our emergency people cannot let you get involved in the process if you are not trained and credentialed in some way.

As all of this goes forward, we would encourage everyone’s participation. Consider all of this an upgrade on what we have already been doing. Think of it like this, what we are doing now is bringing our organization in line with ICS/NIMS and other Homeland security procedures. Being able to bring our procedures up to date, and our training up to date, and doing it as a club will allow us to operate in a proficient and useful manner with a high degree of professionalism.

We welcome your comments and look forward to talking about and working on it together. See you all on Thursday.

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