Puerto Rico bound ham radio operators relay hurricane survivor information


Big Island ARRL News, 01 October 2017, 0650 UTC, Post #326.

Source:

http://wtop.com/national/2017/09/puerto-rico-bound-ham-radio-operators-relay-hurricane-survivor-info/

Reporter:  Kristi King (WTOP-TV).

Accessed on 01 October 2017, 0650 UTC.

Please click link to read the full article.

Comment:

Amateur Radio is getting star billing as relief efforts continue in hurricane-ravaged areas of Puerto Rico and on smaller Caribbean islands impacted by Hurricane Maria.  There’s plenty of Hawaii coverage as well, with Hawaii News Now airing an informative video about Hawaii hams helping a Maui man locate his relatives on Puerto Rico. Thanks to Pacific Section Manager Joe Speroni (Ah0A) and Honolulu PIO Stacy (Darren) Holbrook (KH6OWL) for their efforts in contacting Honolulu media for this hurricane-related story.

On the U.S. mainland, the Amateur Radio response to the Puerto Rico emergency has attracted the interest of Washington, D.C. television station WTOP.  In this article by correspondent Kristi King, we get an idea of what HQ ARRL is doing to send support, communications equipment, and volunteers to help first responders and The American Red Cross in the battered Commonwealth. Her interview with ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher is most informative.

According to Gallagher, approximately 350 licensed radio amateurs answered the call to help Puerto Rico residents contact relatives on the U.S. mainland.  Amateur Radio operators are working closely with The American Red Cross to connect survivors with distant families.  The ARRL is sending teams of 50 ARRL volunteers at a time to cycle in and out of Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico hams are providing emergency communications to fire, police, and utility companies hit hardest by the loss of towers and and cell phone sites.

Gallagher says he’s proud of the way radio amateurs have responded to this critical emergency:

 

“These volunteers who have pushed aside three weeks of their [lives] and moved into hardship assignment come from every walk of life and every state in the union,” Gallaher said.

They include retired executives from Bedford, New York, and fire and police personnel from Mantoloking, New Jersey.

“We are very proud of them and the way that they have stepped up to offer their services to their community and to Americans they don’t even know,” Gallaher said.

The recovery effort will be long and expensive.  Amateur Radio operators stand ready to help where needed.

In light of what’s happened with Hurricane Maria, it may be a good idea to sharpen your communications skills by participating in the upcoming 2017 Simulated Emergency Test on Saturday, 21 October 2017, from 0800 to 1300 HST.  Licensed radio amateurs (hams) will be working with the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency and the Hawaii County Chapter of the American Red Cross.  The scenario for SET 2017 will be a Great Aleutian Tsunami, which will have a disastrous impact on all Hawaiian Islands.Teams of amateur radio operators will be deployed to various locations throughout the county.  All amateur radio operators are invited to participate in this exercise.  For more information, contact cerisanders@gmail.com.

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Opinions expressed in this blog are mine unless otherwise stated.

Thanks for joining us today.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM).

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section