I recently read an artical posted on FEMA’s website about amateur radio. “Always
have an amateur radio unit in your EOC. Amateur radios may be outdated, but they are also the last type of communication to fail.”
While I disagree with the idea of amateur radio being outdated, I like the idea of incorporating
amateur radio into a response plan. Perhaps emergency planners consider Internet enabled social media platforms and cellular technology are modern and two-way radios are outdated. However, the frail nature of these “modern” communication platforms must be considered by planners. For this reason, it is important to keep the communications options open, especially during a disaster. Many planners keep amateur radio assets operating parallel to the primary communications platforms. But that is really just a start to the communications redundancy package.
Want some proof? First of all, check out almost any disaster and you will find amateur radio operators. Why do you think the biggest disaster relief organizations in the world depend on amateur radio as a primary communications platform? Even in Japan, during the 2011 Earthquake, many Japanese amateur radio operators operated in areas where communications were not available. They operated in the affected areas providing a lifeline for rescue teams and those at local shelters. There are 1.3 million amateur radio operators in Japan, by the way.
When your cell phone goes dead or the power goes out, do you have a plan? In reality, you have little control over any third-party vendor or service. Thus-far, amateur radio operators seem to be the only people who can keep the lines of communications open anywhere on the planet. Why? That is a question that will be answered over and over in future posts.