The Amateur Radio Service has long been know for its countless hours of dedicated service to the local communities, states and our nation in times of natural and other emergency and civil needs. Ham radio operators have been in the middle of the storms providing weather information, health and welfare information, passing official traffic, and working with local, state, and federal officials to provide communications when every called upon no matter the time of day, or the type of need. Local amateur radio operators in Hamblen County are proud of the Hamblen County AuxCom organization that works with the local govenment officials under a memorandum of understanding thru the office of Emergency Management Agency and the County Mayor's Office. We are also a part of the Tennessee ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Services) and the national ARES program sponsored by the American Radio Relay League. Both of these operate with letters of understanding from the Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS and SERVICE TO THE COMMUNITY
Service doesn't have to come in times of emergency, it might be on a bright and sunny day when amateur radio operators assist in providing route communications and safety patrols for a fund raising walk-a-thon. Hams gather every year for the Boy Scouts merit badge day and help several qualify for their radio merit badges. Each November Santa woundn't make it to town to hear what all the boys and girls want for Christmas if the hams did help with provide communications along the route of the annual Christmas parade. A team of trained members of the Hamblen County AuxCom are always on standby when dark clouds begin to roll in the western skies as they are ready to man their post at the National Weather Service office in Morristown to receive eye witness reports from other trained amateur operators all over east Tennessee as part of the Skywarn system. Assisting the American Red Cross in opening a shelter, manning backup communication stations for health and welfare traffic at one of the regions 15 county health departments or hospitals, amateur radio opeators are quitely in the back ground passing information for the decision makers so that either these daily events, or these rare events do the least to interrupt your life, threaten you life, or bring danger or harm to your family or property.
So you are a ham and you are interested in being a part of this service community, what do you need to do? In Hamblen County, you have at least two opportunities to be of service thru organizations associated with the American Radio Relay League. The first is the Lakeway Amateur Radio Club or LARC, most of the time referred to as "the Club". The Club has been serving the Lakeway community (Hamblen, Jefferson, Grainger, Cocke, Greene, Hancock, and Hawkins Counties) for over 35 years. The Club maintains over 50 members with various histories and backgrounds in amateur radio. There are members that have been licensed over 50 years and 50 year old member that just received their ticket. We have had members as young as 12 (that young man went on to be today, a special agent in the FBI fighting cybercrimes against children) and active as old as 92. Much of the Clubs activities center around community service events, fund raising with an annual Hamfest in January, Field Day in June, and various other events during the year. Members of the Club participate in the Volunteer Testing Program allowing those wishing to take the FCC examination to be come a ham to take the test every even month of the year. Also if you are a ham and want to move up, you can take the General or Extra test too. The Club meets on the last Thursday of each month and always has a program of interest centering around some area of amateur radio. The Club took over sponsorship of the 147.030 Mhz repeater in the mid 1980's from then owner WB4OAH and since has added a sister repeater on 443.450 Mhz. The repeaters are located on Club owned land on top of Clinch Mountain near the cut for Highway 25-E above Bean Station in Grainger County. From its perch there the W2IQ repeaters survey to the south over the Lakeway area giving excellent coverage for all No PL tones, open repeaters for everyone to use. The Club sponsors a weekly net to serve as a training net and to desimanate local information to area hams. You do not have to be a member to check in and all hams are encouraged to participate. The net is held each Tueday night at 7:00 PM on the 147.030 Mhz repeater. In emergency situations, Club members could be involved in assisting the American Red Cross with Shelter Management, providing communications for health and welfare for family members inside the affected area to family outside the area. They could assist in property damage assessment, or weather spotters thru the Skywarn system with the National Weather Service. They could be assisting with roadway traffic in assisting law enforcement by blocking access to an affected area, or assisting in search and recovery after a violent storm passes. For more information about LARC go to their website at www.lakewayarc.org or check in on one of the repeaters, someone will be glad to answer your call. LARC is a member of the American Radio Relay League.
The second group is not just involved in the tactical use of emergency communications when events happen, but also involved with the stratigic development of plans, equipment, training, and cooperative agreements with other agencies. This group lays the ground work so when an emergency event happens, a plan is in place and members are trained to lead in a common and acceptable approach that coordinates with the government and professional service that are the primarly responsible for the offical response to the event. The Hamblen County AuxCom is a group of volunteers that have an appointed leadership which comes from a joint apointment from the Section ARES Field Representatives and the local Emergency Management Director. During times of volunteer service the local Emergency Coordinator (EC) works as the head of the local Amateur Radio Emergency Services, a service sponsored by the American Radio Relay League. When a large enough emergency is declared that FCC Part 97.407 is envoked the EC and his staff become licensed thru FEMA and become part of TEMA reporting to the local Emergency Management Agency Director as members of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES). The EC then chooses at least 3 and up to 6 Assistant Emergency Coordinators that are approved by the group and assigned to their field of expertise. This group makes up the AuxCom Board and they may appoint a Secretary and a Treasurer. The Hamblen County AuxCom meets on the 2nd and 4th Monday's of each month to review progress on assigments and development additional plans in line with the State and County's Emergency Support Function 2 - Communication and the Tennessee ARES Emergency Plan. Thus Hamblen County AuxCom serves as the ARES Unit for Hamblen County. To be a member of AuxCom and ARES you do not have to be a member of the American Radio Relay League. Currently Bob Green - N3DMI serves as the Emergency Coordinator. He is assisted by Neal Johnson - KC4LU, AEC-Techology - EMA Liason; Randy Hall - N4FNB, AEC-Administration/Fiscal, Trustee; Ron Kramer - KI4FQI, AEC- Security, Intel, Training; Russ Goble - KK4LEE, AEC - NWS, Public Affairs; John Freitag - WW4JF, AEC - Hospital, Digital; George Hoffman - KC9AAX, AEC - NWS, NET Ops, Hospital. Other individuals have been assigned various responsibilities that match their skill set. For more information email any of the individual listed above by clicking on their name.
While Hamblen County is assigned to District 9 (Tri-Cities) in the Tennessee Section of ARES, it functions out of District 8 (Knoxville) because all of its State Agencies are out of the Knoxville region. For more information on the Tennessee Amateur Radio Emergency Services (TNARES) click here to go to their website. Hamblen County AuxCom AEC Randy Hall - N4FNB, serves on the Sectional (State) level as Assistant Emergency Coordinator for Technology.
One of the most important functions of any emergency group, communications or any other function is prepartion. As the motto of the Boy Scouts Says: "Be Prepared". But what does that statement "Be Prepared" encompass? It can be different for each amateur radio operator based on their r training, and their overall skill set. A single mom with a tech license and a handi-physical condition, their social condition (family needs), their location, their education otalkie might find being prepared for EmCom as having charged battery packs, a charged flashlight, and current Skywarn training. At the same time a recently retired Professor with a PHD in Metorology, excellent health, a 4 wheel drive pick-up truck and a healthy retirement account might define "Being Prepared" as operating a weather net during bad weather, teaching a monthly Skywarn class, building his own GoBox, working with the local ARES unit and volunteering 10 hours a week in disaster prepardness with a local church group. Each of us approach EmCom different abilities, responsiblities, capiblities, and any other ability we can name. The one thing that has been found that is needed most is a common mean of training.
After the events of September 11, 2001, it was determined that weaknesses in incident management were often due to the lack of accountability, including unclear chains of command and supervision, poor communication due to both inefficient uses of available communications systems and conflicting codes and terminology, lack of an orderly, systematic planning process, no predefined methods to integrate inter-agency requirements into the management structure and planning process effectively even freelancing by individuals with specialized skills during an incident without coordination with other first responders and a lack of knowledge with common terminology during an incident.
Emergency managers determined that the existing management structures - frequently unique to each agency - did not scale to dealing with massive mutual aid responses involving dozens of distinct agencies and when these various agencies worked together their specific training and procedures clashed. As a result, a new command and control paradigm was collaboratively developed to provide a consistent, integrated framework for the management of all incidents from small incidents to large, multi-agency emergencies. Incidents are defined within ICS. as unplanned situations necessitatin g a response. Examples of incidents may include:Incidents are defined within ICS. as unplanned situations necessitating a response. Examples of incidents may include
Emergency medical situations (ambulance service); Hazardous material spills; Hostage crises; Man-made disasters such as vehicle crashes, industrial accidents, train derailments, or structure fires; Natural disasters such as wildfires, flooding, earthquake or tornado; Public Health incidents, such as disease outbreaks; Search and Rescue operations; Technological crisis; Terrorist attacks; Traffic incidents.
Events are defined within ICS as planned situations. Incident command is increasingly applied to events both in emergency management and non-emergency management settings. Examples of events may include: Concerts; Parades and other ceremonies; Fairs and other gatherings; Training exercises.
Knowing and understanding how to operate, how a large disaster is controled, how any size disaster even a local event is handled has now become important for every player. Nothing can be more frustrating than to be on site and not to be able to offer your services because you are not trained in incident command. That leads to the question, what training do I need to be an effective ham operator? The answer is HERE.
TRAINING AFTER 911, AN EXTENSIVE NATIONWIDE CHANGE