If disaster strikes in the US northwest, amateur radio operators like Woody Linton are ready to spring into action.
During disasters, communication lines are the first thing to break down, Linton said — bad news for emergency responders. That’s why a new high-frequency radio station recently installed at the City of Kenora Fire Station One’s emergency operations centre is so vital, Linton said.
Linton is a member of the Amateur Radio Emergency Service, a Canadian and American corps of volunteer amateur radio operators who assist in emergency communications during times of disaster.
“When things go amuck, the essential services — police, fire, ambulance, social services — quite often are overwhelmed with what they have to do,” Linton said in the lobby of the City of Kenora Fire and Emergency Operations Centre. “Quite often, regular landlines are overloaded, and our cell service goes down because it can’t take the stress — it’s not designed for a maximum load.”
The new communications station, bought with a $4,100 grant from the Kenora and Lake of the Woods Regional Community Foundation, isn’t dependent on the usual means of communication, only requiring emergency power to operate on.
The idea is to allow unimpeded communication between emergency services agencies. Here is South Africa we have a similar arrangement with Hamnet operating from various Disaster Management Services locations in cooperation with other local agencies. Volunteers are part of scheduled preparation exercises and these radios can communicate locally as well as far as 100's of km and sometimes right around the world with no aid from telephone, cellular or Internet services.
^High frequency radio "essential" in emergency: amateur operators
If disaster strikes in the northwest, amateur radio operators like Woody Linton are ready to spring into action.During disasters, communication lines are the first thing to break down, Linton said …