Radio operators ‘vital’ to emergency response
Living in Florida we all talk about being prepared, we have special nets for hurricanes, we have gear that is ready for the storms. There is only so much you could be ready for, but we do our best. Florida Ham take the responsibility serious and it’s great to see it recognized by the local news:
Not in all cases.
Many years ago in Panama City Florida some of us were responding to a hurricane and offered to help with communications. We were told by authorities: “You are in the way. Leave”.
Since then I have heard similar stories from other amateurs.
There are several “keys” to prevent getting told “you’re in the way.” The most important is to develop relationships with served agencies BEFORE you are needed. Another key Is to train yourselves (ICS) and practice communications. I’ve seen too many hams who think that just because they hold a license they are qualified to work an emergency situation. Those hams are a liability, not an asset, and give all of us a bad rep.
Well this is typical reporting of Amateur Radio by the news media. I was particularly offended by the comments of the lead in news media guy saying that you might be concerned when you find out who’s providing emergency communications for you. What an INSULT! Like Ham radio operators are just a bunch of incompetent chuckleheads with radio’s who don’t know what their doing. Frankly I’m fed up with this kind of slap in your face reporting by the media about Ham Radio operators. Just because the word “AMATEUR” is in our title doesn’t mean we’re all morons & numbnuts who can’t provide valuable needed emergency response communications.
Yup, one of the things that is being stressed lately is that if you haven’t been asked to assist do NOT show up and offer your help. With today’s more organized Incident Command structure someone that is not part of the organization really is in the way. Okay, maybe not “in the way”, but at least an additional burden to have to incorporate into the organizational structure.
Granted, “being asked” can (and should) include being a part of an organization that already has an agreement to help out. In which case, you wouldn’t be reporting to the police or whoever is in charge- you’d be asking the police where your organization was so you could report to them.
The emergency world is getting much more structured all the time.