September 2016 QST - Public Service
I shot the 2016 Sept cover of QST of Tammy Scheirman, VA6TSS, and Robert MacLachlan, VE6BGM, participating in an exercise in High River, Alberta.
Here at the EOC control station, Robert, VE6BGM, was the operator in charge of a group of hams who were out in the field. Besides the normal FM voice mode of communication, APRS messaging was also utilized for this exercise, which is held annually in response to the disastrous floods that occurred in southern Alberta in 2013.
As a ham, its important that you know the procedures to follow as part of personal preparedness. Whatever your experience and background are, you have to know the specific details of working with your emergency organizations. If you don’t, you won’t be prepared to contribute when you arrive at a disaster site.
To be prepared to perform your duties effectively, you must be prepared to assist in any number of assignments, from a variety of station locations, using various communication modes, for an extended length of time. You must be prepared to provide your own equipment, and you must be prepared to tend to your own safety, welfare and comfort.
In a natural disaster it's not just the police and fire services who could save lives, but hams could as well.
Despite having the Internet, cell phones, email, and other modern communications, there are times during disasters that the infrastructure fails, and then someone requires assistance. During those moments it's up to the local ham population to provide backup communications for those providing emergency response.