***** Special Message from the ARES Leadership *****
***** Request Widest Dissemination *****
This is a special message from your leadership which we have delayed transmitting until after the President’s address this evening.
There are significant events which seem to be on everyone’s mind, and what we should do about it. War and any domestic ramifications will affect us first as citizens, then as ham radio operators. First, it is important to remember that we are not first responders, as that duty is remains with Fire, Police, and humanitarian professionals such as the American Red Cross. We may, however, be called upon to support those agencies at any time if they are faced with communication issues. Furthermore, it is unlikely that the federal government will require any extraordinary restrictions in our frequency bands, but we may have to sacrifice some of our UHF space as some of it is granted on a shared basis with the government. In view of the circumstances of a foreign war, and the raising of the domestic terrorist warning level to Orange, we are asking you accomplish three important activities as soon as you can.First, secure your home and family. Make sure you have food and water for at least three days for each of your family members. Plan on filling your car gas tanks when your car is about half full, instead of letting it get lower, etc. These are just a few of the many steps you can take to become better prepared for any possible impact on your community. You can learn about this and many other great suggestions on the FEMA website, on http://www.ready.gov , or http://www.fema.gov/library/prepandprev.shtm. There are numerous pamphlets you can pull down for you and your family to read.
Next, make sure your home station is working well. Please remember that the dispersion of our members throughout our districts and the section could come in very handy during any failure of the communication infrastructure providing vital communication links. We now anticipate that hams will be most active as home relay stations as our movements may be restricted within our localities. An emergency can develop very quickly and without any notice. Please focus on your home station making sure it works well, and you have adequate alternative power resources. Then check your mobile station to ensure you can communicate on simplex frequencies properly. You may be needed while you are commuting to and from work, or running errands. Please carry your handheld units with you at all times when the level is raised to Orange, as we anticipate it will be sometime this week [we have been at Orange level since 3/17]. Finally, if the incident lasts for a while or there is a significant restoration element involved such as with the Red Cross, we may be needed to serve away from our homes. In that case, your prior preparations are key. Your technical and personal go-kits will need to be ready before, and not during the emergency. We will have some great information on our website to assist you in the next few days.
In the meantime, go about your lives as best you can. Your leadership has been working with RACES, the Commonwealth, and public service agencies such as the Red Cross to make sure we are ready as we can be for whatever may come along. We can be thought of as the 21st century New England patriots working in our proverbial fields with our proverbial muskets at the ready. We may or may not be asked to serve, but it is high honor to be trained and willing to do so. I speak for the ARES leadership when I say that we greatly appreciate your preparation and commitment.
Here is a brief summary of activities that are scheduled in the next few months. On Saturday, March 29, we will having another ARES workshop on Cape Cod, in Sandwich MA at the Oakridge School. It is just 10 minutes from the Sagamore Bridge, so consider joining us. We’ve updated the program to offer more field related activities, and to better dovetail with the League’s Emergency Communication Course offerings. So, if you’ve haven’t joined us yet, or it’s been a few years since you attended, please plan on joining us. Simply contact your DEC or me to indicate your interest to attend. There is plenty of room at the school, and of course, there is no charge except a
contribution for lunch.
We are also planning a follow on exercise to the February exercise on Saturday April 26. This exercise will allow continual practice of important skills, but will have more emphasis on local operations to allow us to hone skills of communicating with neighboring stations. Some inter-district comms will still be asked for as well, as well as the passing of some NTS traffic. A preliminary message will be released shortly.
We are about to enter the busy Public Service Event (PSE) season. Please consider volunteering for duty with some of these events, as they offer an opportunity to practice communicating in more difficult conditions, and under personal pressure. Its great preparation for any emergency event, particularly if you have little practice or experience. You’ll hear more on this email reflector and on our website.
On behalf of my staff, I wish you and your families the best in the coming months. If you have a service member deployed in a foreign theatre as I do, best wishes for their safety and swift return home. 73,
s/Michael P. Neilsen
Michael P. Neilsen, W1MPN