Training Topic: Our Served Agency
Amateur Radio Emergency Services provide a “service” – communications when all else fails. Amateurs know that during a flood, major earthquake or other natural disaster, normal communications can and will at some point fail. Who has the capability of providing communications when that happens? We do!
In our community, we believe providing this communications help will best service the City of Centralia’s Emergency Operations Center as it strives to mitigate the disaster and protect its citizens.
While the City of Centralia is our “served agency”, we work as volunteers and are directly responsible to the Centralia Police Department. The police department is the only city department with volunteer coordinators tasked with directing volunteer support services.
As volunteers, we provide our services at no cost to the city. Federal Communications Commission rules, in fact, forbid amateur radio operators from charging for their services. Your volunteer hours are recorded monthly with the police department and are listed as part of the police department’s monthly report to the city manager and his staff.
How do we help our served agency? The simple answer is “in any way possible”. We train, of course, to provide emergency communications when needed but we also actively train to support emergency shelter operations, assist with community events, search for lost children, evacuate neighborhoods during a disaster, provide windshield surveys during flood conditions, and position, set up and man the police department’s communications van among many other tasks.
We fully understand that in most normal situations, our communications support will not be needed. We are a “readiness team”, training and practicing for an event we hope doesn’t happen. One day, however, the Emergency Operations Center’s Incident Commander may need to turn to our Amateur Radio Emergency Services team for help. There will be no time to “gear up”. We will be needed immediately. Are you ready?
Finally, as volunteers, you will never receive money for what you do or even be thanked enough for the services you provide, however what you do is important. THANK YOU for all you do!