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Jan 13 2011

Response to a Question on Emcomm Training in my part of the world

A while back i was listening to some of the local Emcomm leadership moaning about the fact that people weren’t joining RACES and ARES in this area and the ones that were involved weren’t very effective. So in my normal fashion I chimed in with my two cents worth. After all i am a RACES ARO and an ARES AEC plus I like to give my opinion on things. It went kind of like this.

Concerning some recent conversations I have had with other Emcomm folks in the area I have been doing some think and this is how I see it. We have a need for promotion of awareness and training in emergency / disaster communications in the Mesquite, Balch Springs and the rest of south east Dallas county area.

I think our primary goals should be.

  1. Raise awareness of our local hams and recruit those that have an interest in emergency / disaster communications
  2. Raise awareness of our served agencies concerning our capabilities and ability to provide support in time of need
  3. Develop and present training starting at the basic level and continuing through the advanced level targeted at our specific needs, goals, and abilities
  4. Develop drills and operating opportunities which will allow our team to practice the skills learned from training

Raise awareness of our local hams

This is pretty easy. We just need to talk up Emcomm when ever possible to as many people as possible. Find out who is in RACES / ARES by asking them then identify why they are not with the Emcomm group and address those issues. Those of us who have been in sales will not find this difficult. For those who have not been in sales it is not difficult to develop this skill. After addressing any issues an individual may have it shouldn’t be difficult to get them to submit an ARES registration form at the very least.

Raise awareness of our served agencies

This might be a little more challenging since only a few of us have direct contact with our served agencies people on a regular basis. Those who do have contact might spend some time bringing our capabilities up in conversation and make sure they are aware of new things that come on line. It is my understanding that we are written to the cities emergency plan. It probably wouldn’t hurt to find out what is expected from us in that plan.

Develop and present training, Develop drills and operating opportunities

This will take a little work. We will need to identify in what areas Training is needed most. We will need to develop training for all aspects of emergency and disaster communications but we need to work on our weak spots first. Once we have put together training presenting it should be fairly easy. We can use the club newsletter in the form of articles. The newsgroups in the form of articles. The on air nets for training and drills. The club meeting for presentations. Things like HAM radio in the park, Field day, Transmitter hunts and so on as hands on drilling and training.

A few more things

Currently our Emcomm group is a group of individuals that come together during nets. The concept of “TEAM” is not in play. How we will fix this problem I am not sure. It might also be easier to concentrate training if we move toward a team oriented structure. Relay team, DF team, etc. We would still have to be able to get the team members to Elmer those outside the team. Cross training is something we need to keep in the plan.  These are just a few thoughts, what do you guys think?

A lot of these points seem really simple but you would be surprised how often they are missed by Emcomm leadership. I guess it is like a finger pointing at the moon. If you pay to much attention to the finger you miss all that heavenly glory.

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1 comment

  1. WS4E-Don

    Richard, one thing I found out the other day.

    Our local agency thought there were TWICE as many people they could depend on in a time of need than there actually were.

    How??? Because they counted ARES and RACES folks separate.

    And really, we both know that 99% of people in ARES are in RACES, and 99% of people in RACES are in ARES. If you called up one, there would be no one left to participate in the other.

    That just goes to show the stupidity of trying to segment the ham community into two different classes of emergency services.

    I personally thing ARES needs to just go away. Not a single organization in the country will talk to them anymore because in this day and age they can’t handle any non-certified, non-blessed, non-background checked, non-controlled people having anything to do with them anymore.

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