A while back I wrote the following:
Many years ago when I first got my callsign (I was VE3YBC back then) I attended a presentation that was given to civic officials on Emergency Planning. One of the first things stressed is that they should make friends with the local amateur radio clubs in their areas as the “hams” could do it all!!!
Now in reality we know that Hams can’t walk on water, but we do know where the rocks are hidden just under the water, so it seems like we can.
Now many callsigns have passed (VE3YBC,VE3UAX,VA3RCS and now VA3QV) since I heard those comments and technology now brings new toys. And most of these new toys mean that don’t need us as much as they used to. In most of the urban centers we have been delegated to passing routine traffic between shelters if needed.
Cell Phones, Blackberrys, Text Messaging, WI FI and the internet itself have pushed Amateur Radio back a few steps in the communications ranking.
However when it really hits the fan….They are going to want us to step in and do everything for them. Cell Phone sites batteries do fail, Internet lines can fail, most of the modern phone systems need power to operate. Even those fancy 900Mhz Digital Trucking systems have repeater sites that rely on power.
I’m not saying they will fail… Chances are they probaly won’t…. But if they do…Be ready for it!!!
I’m not telling you what to do, but I am suggesting that in addition to making sure you can do the assignments that the local Emergency Plan asks for you should also plan for what they don’t ask for. That way when you do get asked the impossible you will be ready to prove the comment that “Hams can walk on water”.
Make sure a few people in your ARES Group know how to operate portable HF and have the equipment to do so independant of commercial power. Have them check into nets like the Ontario Phone Net, the ARES Ontario Weekly HF Nets,the COMSONT Net or the ONTARS or the Trans Provincal Net. Get them used to the equipment and the differences between operating from the safety of the shack to the insanity of portable operations.
The opinions stated above are mine alone…I personally hope we never get called out for real…If we ever do I hope that I am ready and I hope that you are ready.
Now that was written about 10 years ago…. and my comments go back over 20 years of Amateur Radio Life… But its just as important for you to consider now as it was then…
But others feel the same way as I do….
Check out the following video. Comments made by Craig Fugate who is the Director of FEMA… Thats the US Gov’s Federal Emergency Management Agency.
We have to train… We have to exercise… because we never want to be deployed…. But you know what will happen the day we stop training… That will be the day it won’t be an exercise (according to Murphy)