Spontaneous Unaffiliated Volunteers in disasters

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KG7LEA, Apr 24, 2019.

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  1. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    In any emergency, there is only one "fence" - helping people. Causing confusion, adding burden to the people trying to coordinate and manage response actions and being unfamiliar with where priorities lie in rescue activities invariably hinders aide to everyone.

    I get the gratuitous concept of trying to help people in need. That's great! But to ignore the problems unsoliticited and untrained help brings to the problem is naive.
    KG7LEA, KK5JY, AG5DB and 1 other person like this.
  2. K3KIC

    K3KIC Ham Member QRZ Page

    There are a lot of "disasters" that are smaller in scale which don't have Federal involvement. Even little in state resources other than some funding after the fact. In rural areas many county and township resources get overwhelmed.
    In the area I grew up in if we didn't get out and pitch in we would be isolated for weeks. Farmers and other people in rural areas have equipment and use it on a daily basis. They pitch in and clear the roads so emergency vehicles can get access. If someone needs medical attention it might require someone with 4WD or other equipment to get them help if the regular agencies can't. Keep in mind in many areas fire, ambulance, and even police are primarily volunteer.
    W8LPN, N0TZU and K3XR like this.
  3. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    It's important to point out that having more resources *is* a benefit. Where things go wrong is when well-meaning groups show up with walkie-talkies and want to be told what to do. How could any agency suddenly trust strangers with unknown skills and abilities to go into evacuated neighborhoods? That cannot happen. Whose authority would they be operating under? There's no accountability.

    If you have SAR, medical, food preparation, or other needed skills and have local knowledge then get involved now as a volunteer, not during a disaster. This will differentiate you as a valuable asset and not a well equipped looter when hell breaks loose.
    KG7LEA and WU8Y like this.
  4. KB9BVN

    KB9BVN Ham Member QRZ Page

    The Midwest Militia meets at any given restaurant that offers endless biscuits and gravy (any kind of gravy will work) and a bottomless cup of Joe for $3.99 - they discuss high ARRL dues, why Technicians need more HF space to not use, and what they might do in the event their scooters become water logged or run out of battery.
    K0IDT, WE4B, NM7L and 1 other person like this.
  5. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Certainly their efforts in rescues with boats are appreciated. But that's different from running a net for the local EMC. If they are trained fine, if not, their skills are better used in other ways.
  6. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is indeed a sad state of affairs when personal initiative to render aid and comfort to a fellow human(s) is trivialized and characterized by derision.

    This country was founded on the personal initiative of some folks who saw a need and acted on their own.

    Government help in urgent situations is, for the most part, nice, when it gets there. Remember, the various governments, which services and expertise are extolled, were responsible for the design and construction of the levee system in New Orleans and the drainage system in Houston.

    To mock those who display personal initiative, use their own physical and financial resources and time to come to the aid of others in need, shows a degree of arrogance and naivete.
    AI7PM, N0TZU, KG7LEA and 4 others like this.
  7. AA7EJ

    AA7EJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Allow me to post these real life experiences:

    An OM who is a long time contributor in keeping battleship Texas radio collection active have been thrown out from the ship, not allowed to participate in Museum Ships Weekend because he is NOT certified volunteer.

    During Harvey a local church needed an additional refrigerators to safely store numerous donations of goods put out a call for them. Received (unimportant) quantity of refrigerators within on hour!

    The now infamous “amateur radio aid” to PR WAS a MANAGEMENT disaster!

    Manual labor is NEEDED during many disasters , it is a function of PROFESSIONAL , PAYED for management to make sure such labor pool is useful.

    If we have to worry about any misconduct of such volunteer labor pool the “problem” is pretty obvious.

    “a fish rots from the head down”
    K0IDT, AI7PM and N5PZJ like this.
  8. KC9YGN

    KC9YGN Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Not really radio related but a while back our ARES group was called out one evening to assist in a search and rescue operation where a boy was supposedly lost in a state park. We weren't there to assist in the S&R or even communications, the pros were taking care of that very well all on their own. No, our job was to babysit the unsolicited "volunteers", the family and friends who were showing up to try to help and just getting in everyone's way. Even worse there was the definite possibility they'd grow impatient and strike out on their own, wandering around in the dark and possibly falling off one of the cliffs in the area. We ended up taking them out to a golf course right next to the park and "searching" that with them to keep them out of the hair of the pros. Worked out well. They were out of the way, relatively safe with us, and felt like they were doing something useful. Boy eventually was discovered to have been picked up by non-custodial parent who "forgot" to tell anyone.

    Every situation is different, of course, but basically speaking untrained, unwanted volunteers are often a liability. In this case they could have ended up getting lost themselves in the forest or even going off one of the cliffs in the area in the dark. At the very least if we hadn't been available to deal with them they would have been a major annoyance to the police, state patrol, DNR wardens and firefighters engaging in the real S&R operation.
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2019
    KG7LEA, N5JLD and WU8Y like this.
  9. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The liability point is another of the myriad reasons volunteers are discouraged. Not only does it exacerbate the initial problem of them getting hurt, lost or worse but it is a major consideration to whatever governmental level of control exists by creating a liability for medical costs should they become injured or claim post traumatic effect.
    KC9YGN likes this.
  10. K5ABB

    K5ABB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    You WILL respect my yellow vest!
    K0IDT, NL7W and KV6O like this.

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