Saturday, December 31, 2016

Hams Around the World Provide Support in Disasters and Drills

Ham radio emergency communications groups in widely scattered locations were called into action in December. Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers in Tennessee provided communications for American Red Cross shelters in the wake of evacuations resulting from the wildfires that ravaged the Great Smoky Mountains and popular resort areas, according to the ARRL Letter.   

FEMA Region 10 Emergency Communications Coordinator
Laura Goudreau , KG7BQR, calls Washington state's
Emergency Operations Center via amateur radio as
part of a November communicatoins drill.
(FEMA Photo by Savannah Brehmer)
On the other side of the country, nearly four dozen hams took part in an interoperability drill sponsored by Region X of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which covers the states of Washington, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska. FEMA's regional emergency communications coordinator, Laura Goudreau, KG7BQR (right), told the ARRL the exercise was "very successful" and that similar drills would be conducted in 2017.

On the other side of the Pacific, hams in Indonesia provided emergency communications following a magnitude 6.5 earthquake there on December 7; and the Philippine Amateur Radio Association's HERO (Ham Emergency Radio Operations) group conducted emergency nets before, during and after a Christmas Day typhoon battered the island nation, making landfall seven separate times. A spokesman told ARRL that several government agencies monitored the HERO net and occasionally joined in, seeking information.