Ontario hams on call but is anybody home?

This note just came in from Jim Taylor, VA3KU,  Amateur Radio Program Coordinator, Emergency Management Ontario who has given me permission to reproduce it here.

 Hello Peter,
                   Emergency Management Ontario has been monitoring the situation in Goderich, I was notified of the situation by the Duty Officer shortly after the event took place and although ARES services were not required EMO ARES was on alert and ready to supply communications support if required.
Although the EMO Radio Group supports the RAC ARES Ontario program I have found it difficult to make it clear at times that our group reports directly to Emergency Management Ontario and support all ARES/EMCOMM groups in Ontario regardless of whether or not they are affiliated with RAC or an independent group.
The RAC ARES Ontario DEC/EC contact database is seriously out of date and on numerous occasions have informed RAC of the current contact list which has been ignored. RAC has setup a new website www.racares.ca  and it still has old contact information listed in the Ontario section. This should be a matter of great concern as this is how local government officials would make contact with local groups in the event of required services. It is not about what RAC perceives as to how the ARES program should operate but rather the needs of communities and the government agencies who are responsible for their safety.
Focus should be on the support of all NGO’s that provide community support during emergencies and disasters, the EMO Radio Group works closely with such agencies as; Red Cross, Salvation Army, St John Ambulance and CFARS.
There is so much more than the RAC ARES program in place in Ontario, many other groups provide community response service
(see: http://www.emergencyradio.ca/eocstations.html) and it is high time that RAC gets their collective heads out of the sand and start working with other groups in a true spirit of cooperation.
Regards,
Jim Taylor, VA3KU
Amateur Radio Program Coordinator
Emergency Management Ontario
Provincial Emergency Operations Centre
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About Peter West

I am retired. I'm invested into bike riding, guitar playing, yoga and Ham Radio. I am a former photojournalist, newspaper and magazine editor and public relations practitioner with national, regional and local experience. A long-time member of Toastmasters International and an active Amateur Radio (Ham) operator here in Canada I am taking on new challenges.

2 thoughts on “Ontario hams on call but is anybody home?

  1. Hi Peter,

    Jim Taylor, VA3KU, says the following:

    “The RAC ARES Ontario DEC/EC contact database is seriously out of date and on numerous occasions have informed RAC of the current contact list which has been ignored. RAC has setup a new website http://www.racares.ca and it still has old contact information listed in the Ontario section. This should be a matter of great concern as this is how local government officials would make contact with local groups in the event of required services. It is not about what RAC perceives as to how the ARES program should operate but rather the needs of communities and the government agencies who are responsible for their safety.”

    While the Ontario Section is currently being upgraded and is not totally up to date, Jim’s concept of what the website info would be used for seems incorrect to me.

    Now, I’m making an assumption here. That being the the new RAC ARES site will replace the old RAC ARES Ontario site that was used by ECs and DECs in Ontario to file their monthly reports. When the recent situation between RAC and ECOA occurred it seems that RAC set up a new site to collect their statistics from the various ARES groups.

    The original site (as far as I know) was never intended to be an information source for “local government officials” to make contact with “local groups in the event of required services.”

    Local ARES groups, as in Halton Region and the GTA West division, should already be in contact with their local government agencies and be well known to them. In an emergency or disaster no government is going to have the time or desire to go searching around on the web (assuming they still have internet connectivity) to find amateur radio operators to use for communications. Especially when such operators are unknown,and have unknown levels of training and abilities.

    The answer here is not compiling lists of ECs and DECs for an area or a province, it is for ARES groupsto make contact with their local Community Emergency Management Coordinator(s) and arrange a working relationship with local government long before an emergency or disaster arises. This insures that said ARES groups will be up to date on local communications requirements and procedures and will be seen as an asset, not a questionable
    source of nerds and technogeeks.

    73

    Rick
    VA3NV

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