On Thursday January 16th, Rachel Barrett from the New Bedford Chapter of the Red Cross will be coming to the Southeastern Massachusetts Amateur Radio Association. She’ll be talking about Red Cross, what they do, and what the local chapter does in the area. Along those lines, Rachel will be discussing how Amateur Radio plays an important role in Red Cross and how individual hams and SEMARA can help.I will be at the presentation and will talk a bit on some of the things that Red Cross is looking for from a communications standpoint. I would like to thank the SEMARA club for hosting this presentation. Its very much appreciated and its hoped to see a great turnout.
As some of you maybe aware, back in 1996, we (myself and several other hams, many of which were SEMARA members)started the SEMCARES (Southeast Masaschusetts Coastal Amateur Radio Emergency Services) group. The group was formed to assist with Emergency Communications issues as they arise and to assist in public service events as needed. The group was strong until the late 90’s but as attempts to form a relationship with the Red Cross kept changing due to turnover in administrations at Red Cross and the gradual downturn of public service events (several events that communications were done for ceased to exist), the group splintered into assisting the towns of Dartmouth, Fairhaven and Acushnet with Emergency Management communications. This communications work is known as RACES or the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services.
In September 2002, I was approached by our ARES Section Emergency Coordinator, Mike Nielsen, W1MPN, with a request to talk to Rachel concerning Red Cross Disaster Communications. Rachel has taken over Disaster Services work with Red Cross back in the late 2000-2001 timeframe. The goal was to begin building plans and infrastructure for Red Cross communications. Since then, I’ve had several meetings with Rachel in the past several months as we attempt to achieve these goals. She has been a professional and its been a pleasure to be working with her and a served agency which is starting to organize itself and take on Amateur Radio and the concept of ARES seriously.
The Eastern Massachusetts ARES staff has announced a Emergency Communications Exercise for Saturday February 8th at 10 AM and were looking for as many groups to participate as possible. Rachel and New Bedford Red Cross have agreed to participating in this drill for Saturday. This means having actual ham operations at the Red Cross chapter house. Details on how Amateurs can help and participate in the drill will be talked about at this presentation. Participation in the drill will be done in such a way so that anyone can participate including people who would like to participate from home only.
I hope to see many of you at the presentation. If you can’t make the presentation but are interested in what our plans are with Red Cross or the Emergency Communications drill, feel free to send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I also hope to get to more SEMARA functions this year as my work schedule should relax from the pace of the past 18 months through the high tech downturn at my work place.
Take care and hope to see many of you at the club!
Robert Macedo (KD1CY)
ARES SKYWARN Coordinator
SEMCARES Emergency Coordinator
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