Eastern MA ARRL Section Manager Mike Neilsen, W1MPN writes:
I would like to take this opportunity to briefly outline our efforts with the Governor’s Office since the “Town Meeting” incident last November. Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Assistant Section Manager Mark Duff, KB1EKN, and I attended a meeting in December with Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency Director McCombs and Response and Recovery Branch Head John Tommaney. Both expressed their full support and appreciation for our efforts in supporting MEMA. As I reported in an earlier message, representatives from both the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army have also personally expressed their support to me on your behalf.
Additionally, Rob and I met with the Governor’s Staff and Director McCombs last week at his office at the State House. It was a very satisfactory meeting with both teams agreeing to a set of outreach activities and timeline. I now consider the matter closed, and I hope you will too.
MEMA continues to be impressed with the ability of RACES and ARES to participate in the SKYWARN program and provide initial damage reports to the NWS and MEMA which are factored into operational disaster plans as required. They stated that during the initial phase of the disaster, damage assessment reports may be delayed until the proper personnel can get in place. Hams would have the ability to communicate immediately until the state’s resources can be brought to bear on the situation.
The points that Director McCombs and John Tommaney made to us at our December meeting were reiterated to the Governor’s staff and it was an opportunity for Rob and me to explain Amateur Radio’s capabilities to the Governor’s staff. It appeared that the Governor’s staff and MEMA officials were very attentive, and offered additional suggestions for an outreach. In particular, MEMA reiterated their appreciation of the fact that hams are naturally dispersed across the region, and believe the hams have a critical role during the initial stages, not just when communication systems go down.