Who to contact to offer 1st responder Radio Amateur Help

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by N7ROW, Oct 12, 2018.

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  1. N7ROW

    N7ROW Ham Member QRZ Page

    I would like to volunteer to support hurricane impacted areas when there is loss of comms, power, etc. I know to let real 1st responders to assess, manage, organize response within affected areas - however when disaster is inevitable is seems others can herlp out in the first hours of need. Anybody know protocol contacts for volunteers?

  2. AG6QR

    AG6QR Subscriber QRZ Page

    Your local ARES and/or RACES organization is a good place to start. They generally want trained volunteers, so the time to get started is months before the disaster, at least.

    Don't self-deploy to the areas recently affected by the hurricane, please.
    W4RAV, WB7OXP and KJ4VTH like this.
  3. KJ4VTH

    KJ4VTH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Additional information

    This page, www.arrl.org/2018-Hurricanes, includes information and news summarizing the preparations and response by Amateur Radio (ham radio) volunteers who are supporting emergency communications in areas that may be (or have been) impacted by 2018 hurricanes.
  4. KM6CND

    KM6CND Ham Member QRZ Page

    Mayne, I have thought of that many times...

    I was at the Los Angeles Museum of Science and Industry, many Moons ago.

    Let me set the stage...

    - Me, plain, ordinary, 40 ish White Guy at the Museum, separated from my Tribe. I hear behind me a distressed call out... I turn around to see a young Black girl about 13... she had BOTH LEGS in casts and she had somehow fallen out of her wheel chair and landed on the floor, face up. She was crying big-time.

    Time for transparency...

    I could see this girl in distress.

    She needed help.

    I looked all around for ANYONE that might be family... no one.

    I told myself that I have to help this Black girl, even though I am an old White guy, who may be accused of throwing her out of her chair, by family members who may not know the whole picture...

    I said to myself "screw this" and I got on my knees to help her up. Only after I took action...others joined in and helped.

    Mayne, someday, disaster may visit your world, you may want to "look for a list of qualified volunteers"... only to find you are in charge of the Comms.

    Be as ready as you can be at all times.
    W4POT likes this.
  5. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Why would it matter if she was black? She was a child, another human being in distress. I don't care what color someone is and, certainly wouldn't have thought about it in a time of distress. I just would help them. Of course, what do I know? I'm just an old white guy with Latina daughters who lives in Montgomery, AL... the Cradle of the Confederacy and ground zero for the start of the civil rights movement. I really don't see skin color. We are all humans.
    AG5DB likes this.
  6. KM6CND

    KM6CND Ham Member QRZ Page

    Jeff, I am also Color blind, but not everyone is.

    Yes, all I could see was myself next to this girl in such a manner that when the family came around the corner, they might think the worst...

    I gave that up that line of thinking long ago, now that I'm in my 60's

    And yes, my son is 50% Latino.
  7. W0IS

    W0IS Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for your offer, but I see that you are literally on the other side of the continent. So if you can get there to help, then presumably there's some way to get people and stuff where the help is needed.

    Honestly, the radios that we use don't require any particular level of expertise to operate. So if it's possible to get a similar radio to the spot where it's needed, then the person who needs it can probably figure it out. In other words, there's really no need for you to also come.

    There might be very rare exceptions when extra trained manpower is necessary, but they will want people specifically trained as part of ARES, RACES, etc.

    Now, before you give up in despair that you're not needed, keep in mind that the situation would be very different if you happened to be in the spot that the disaster hit. Assuming that you took care of your own personal survival needs, then you might be the only means of communication available to your neighbors. So if your neighbor wanted to send a message to a relative in another state, then you could be in a position to do that. Or if your neighbor is trapped in rubble and there's no other means to call the fire department, then you could be in a position to do that.

    When your neighbor's cell phone comes back to life, or when the fire department arrives, then your job is done.

    But the great strength that we have is hams is not merely the fact that we have radios and know how to use them. Our great strength is that we are distributed all over the place, largely in residential areas.

    I know that the prevailing wisdom is not to "self-deploy," and that certainly makes sense. You don't want to "self deploy" by hitting the road with your lightbar equipped vehicle to the scene of the latest disaster. You'll just get in the way and cause more problems than you solve.

    But in the event of a local disaster in my area, I fully intend to self deploy. As soon as I've taken care of my immediate safety, one of my first steps will be to put a big sign in front of the house reading: "FREE MESSAGES TO ANYWHERE IN USA VIA HAM RADIO." And I'll probably take a walk around the neighborhood with my HT and check on the neighbors and see if anyone needs assistance, involving communications or otherwise.

    Probably, I'll never have to do this, and that is a good thing. But if all hams were prepared to do this, it could do a huge amount of good.

    Hopefully, the hams in Panama City are on top of things and are doing this. Your job is to be prepared to do this in Oregon, and my job is to be prepared to do it in Minnesota. No orange vest is required, but what is required is giving some thought to things like how long your station could remain on the air without commercial power, how long it would take you to put up an antenna from materials found in the garage, and how exactly you could send a message to a random person somewhere else in the country via amateur radio.
    N7ROW, WG7X, KM6CND and 1 other person like this.
  8. KK5JY

    KK5JY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    This is also the approach endorsed by FCC.
  9. WE4B

    WE4B Ham Member QRZ Page

    Or... they might have given you a big hug for helping their child in need. To put this back on topic, to the OP contact the Red Cross or Salvation Army and volunteer your services. Also, to the OP, thank you for being willing to help others in their time of need.
  10. WZ7U

    WZ7U Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Mayne,
    In the time it took to write this, all the other guys hit on the topics I was going to go over. It's all good, this is what I get for getting distracted with household stuff. ;) So, here's what I had for you....

    It really depends on who you want to offer your potential services to. As you seem well aware, if you just 'self activate' to an event many states away you are likely to run into a bit of a problem. Know ahead of time that "whackers" are severely frowned upon both in the AR service as well as in professional EM circles. If you're unfamiliar with the term, I invite you to look at this - https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Whacker

    A couple facets you may not have been aware of would include a certain, extensive level of pre-deployment preparedness: meaning, you have to know, as muscle memory, the format your emergency responder will need you to follow. Like ICS (incident command system) protocols and the like. Each agency has its own protocols but most all follow some variant of the same thing. See this here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incident_Command_System

    I see you have your home listed as in NW Portland. A good place to start would be with the Portland Fire Bureau NET team training, or the equivalent for Washington County. Also, see if Washington County ARES can use your help as I'm sure they can. Try these web resources to see who you need to get with. Realize, what you propose to be will take a considerable amount of training pre event, like AG6QR said, and for good reason. I know, because 15 years ago I was heavily involved with Multnomah County ARES and the Portland NET team in the Cully neighborhood.

    Try these first - http://www.oregonaresraces.org/
    - http://washcoares.org/
    - http://www.multnomahares.org/
    - http://www.oregonaresd1.us/wp/
    - https://www.redcross.org/local/oregon/volunteer.html
    - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salvation_Army_Team_Emergency_Radio_Network

    Get trained, well, before you consider offering your services. The best way to get up to speed is to train with and work on a local level first. We have enough hazards around here to respond to if needed to see if it's really what you want to do. This stuff isn't for the faint of heart. I think a lot of people get sold a bill of goods about emcomm and I hope that you don't have inflated expectations of saving the world with an HT. I would be willing to give you my opinion on the subject in this thread or offline in a PM or three if you want. All I ask is please be well prepared physically, mentally and spiritually before you commit yourself to a course of action. And thanks for wanting to be part of the solution.
    W4RAV, N7ROW, KV6O and 2 others like this.

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