Amateur Radio Assists During Emergencies

By George Diering, Wilson County Emergency Coordinator

Wilson Amateur Radio Emergency Service, in partnership with the local 9-1-1 center and the Wilson County Emergency Management, is Demonstrating the use of Amateur Radio during emergencies, registering residents for the “Code Red” emergency alert system, and programming weather radios.

The demonstrations are coming up September 22nd during Lowe’s Safety Day, organized by Lowe’s on Forest Hills Drive in Wilson. This event begins at 9am and runs through 5pm. Many local emergency agencies and volunteer emergency agencies will be there to promote different aspects of safety. Local residents may trek through the main parking lot to speak with emergency responders including Health, Human Services, Sheriff, Fire, EMS, 9-1-1, and more. The Amateur Radio group demonstrations will go on throughout the day.

The group will also be available October 13, 2012, during the Black Creek Heritage Day Festival in Black Creek.

Amateur radio operators have proven themselves to be essential volunteer responders in bad weather and other natural emergencies. Hams can go on-the-air and stay on-the-air when ordinary public service communications fail. For many decades, ham radio often has been the only means of communicating from a stricken area to the outside world for hours and sometimes even days. Many of the hams have completed several FEMA courses dealing with emergency operations. There are about 100 hams in Wilson County and over 630,000 in the United States.

Amateur or “Ham” Radio has proven to be a reliable means of communications in emergencies when other systems fail. Ham radio goes back through the 1900s, with a long history of assisting operators in reaching across miles to spread news. The hams of Wilson County work with local emergency departments to carry emergency message traffic across town, across the state, coast-to-coast or around the world.

For more information, visit their website.

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