Lots of very highly placed people around the world are thinking the unthinkable today following word of North Korea’s movement of long range missiles to its east coast.
America has deployed missile batteries to Guam and the military of South Korea, Japan and I’m betting Russia and China are all approaching a war-like stance.
Now of course the premise that a nuclear showdown between nations accidentally sets off a regional nuclear war is the stuff of Hollywood movies…or is it?
Nobody would have thought anybody in their right mind would hijack three airliners and fly them at civilian targets would they? Yet we’ve had 911.
Well it’s got me thinking: If our country or a region of our country was faced with a wide-spread disaster of any sort what would be the role of Amateur Radio?
Seems the American Radio Relay League (of which you should all be members!) is thinking ahead. The ARRL leadership group recently hosted a meeting with US Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) administrator Craig Fugate (who just happens to be KK4INZ…bet he’s not a CW guy with that call sign!) to talk about the roll of Amateur Radio during times of disaster.
Fugate was so impressed he wrote a piece on his blog (Gee even the FEMA guys can figure out blogging a practice that seems to elude the brain trust at RAC) about meeting with the ARRL team.
Now here in Canada our ARES setup seems to be following the old command and control model so reminiscent of our current RAC leadership group. You’d think the ARES guys would see that RAC is quickly becoming irrelevant even superfluous to the majority of the Canadian Amateur Radio community. Numbers are dropping and nobody wants to be put their name forward to be on the executive especially after the unexplained firing of the last volunteer who was our regulatory affairs officer.
ARES always functioned best when team members focused on regional or community needs. In the past Amateur Radio operators joined their local ARES groups in droves in order to have the opportunity to use their radio equipment in service of their community during parades, walk-a-thons and other special events. As much as service was a key component so was good fellowship and having fun.
In the process some learning happened as well. Local ARES groups practiced their ability to communicate using formal and informal communications methods setting up stations and networks as needed.
The ARRL Field Day which comes June 21-22 is a 24-hour opportunity to have fun working stations around North America while at the same time learning what works and what doesn’t when it comes to emergency communications.
Last year our club learned a lot 🙂
The “contest” is open to everyone and it’s a weekend I always keep clear on my calendar.
But that isn’t the route that ARES is going in Canada. Top heavy and bureaucratic, the command and control mentality is driving away individuals and individual ARES groups.
This is a great shame as it doesn’t serve Amateur Radio or our individual communities.
I know there is a great deal of dissatisfaction within our Amateur Radio community and some regional thought-leaders are talking about change and how to bring that change about.
The change can’t come soon enough, especially if you think we should be prepared to assist locally when all else fails.