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Hams Kept their Promise to the Northwest Communities

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by Guest, Mar 2, 2001.

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  1. Guest

    Guest Guest

    N7UO writes...

    While the world continued to shake, hams in the Northwest were grabbing their radios and activating emergency operation centers in their communities.

    K7NWS, the Boeing Employees Amateur Radio Society (BEARS) repeater crackled to life as the world shook. Immediately, hams across the KING, PIERCE, THURSTON AND SNOHOMISH county areas began reporting power outages, telephone outages, damage, injuries, and cell phone losses to an operator who stepped forward to function as a net control. Within minutes Emergency Operation Centers through out the northwest were operational, receiving and reporting information accumulated from fellow hams.

    The 6.8 earthquake struck at 10:54 A.M., shaking the northwest for nearly 45 seconds. Just as hams across the world have promised, reports that schools, hospitals, and major manufactures were damaged, or undamaged, status of power, water, telephone and other utilities were filtered through control operators on a multitude of repeaters to area R.A.C.E.S. and A.R.E.S. operation centers. Initially, over 200,000 homes were without power, and numerous communities lost their telephone services. Cell phones were essentially useless in a majority of the area due to high volumes of calls or casualties.

    Following the reporting of casualties to buildings, roads, and communications, hams began passing health and welfare reports to inquiring amateurs throughout the northwest and further. HF networks were activated and additional information was conveyed.

    The K7NWS BEARS repeater was linked to others in the Spokane, Washington, and Portland, Oregon areas as the initial reporting was completed, and requests from amateurs in those areas concerning loved ones were fielded and responded to.

    Just as the Amateur Radio operators throughout the world have promised, and drilled endlessly for over the years, northwest hams immediately rendered assistance to community, county and state leaders. Their eyes in the community and communications expertise enhanced the quality of information necessary to make sound decisions concerning deployment of governmental assets to areas where they were critically needed.
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