Working with your local fire department

There’s a great article in FireFighting in Canada magazine that mentions amateur radio as another tool to be used during emergencies.

Here’s the quote: What would cause your radio system to fail? Do you have alternate methods of communications and if so, how often do you test them? Cellular phones should never be relied on as a replacement communications system. If you have satellite phones, do you understand their limitations and have you trained your staff? Amateur radio has proven to be the one communications link that survives in a disaster, from Banda Aceh to Hurricane Katrina. How well connected is your department to amateur radio and have you ever run a real-time exercise using amateur radio?

If your club or ARES group has been thinking about contacting municipal authorities to talk about integrating amateur radio into the community’s disaster plans, this article might provide some leverage.

Many municipalities don’t realize how vulnerable their communication’s systems are until they fail from lack of Hydro power (Think of the Ice Storm of 1998) or are overloaded by the volume of traffic on the system (cell phones are very prone to fail during localized emergencies).

Right now Canadian trained amateur radio communicators working within ARES groups are serving their communities as floodwaters rise in Manitoba. This level of cooperation didn’t just happen.

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