One vital task that befalls the telecommunications manager during an emergency is to screen the communications volunteers who respond; especially the intermittent flow of those that come out of the woodwork at such times. It's not that they're not wanted or needed, it's just that their usefulness may be other than what they expect, depending on various factors. During an emergency is NOT the time to train in such things as tactical calls, the agency structure, proper identification, pro-words, net procedures, and other items learned only over time and practice.
Too Much of a Good Thing? (RB231)
More than one professional in the field of Search and Rescue or Emergency Response Management has been known to say that "hams can be too much of a good thing." What they refer to is the propensity of hams to respond en-mass to a call out without regard to their own skills, physical limitations, body condition, time commitment, and mental state. Over time, these professionals, often "hams" themselves, reach a state where they decline to again issue a call out or utilize other hams in their operations. In essence, they've been "burned" once too often by the untrained and unskilled responders who think just because they hold an Amateur Radio license they are natural emergency operators.
So You Want to Help? (RB230)
You want to help as an Amateur Radio operator in an emergency. That's great. Sometimes that help is needed, sometimes not. Here's a typical comparison:
Radio Officer Liaison (RB229)
A major factor in the decline of a radio response unit (whatever its name or however it is attached) is the Radio Officer who does not REGULARLY stop by the government office to which he or she is attached.
Such on-going visits are for a four-fold purpose:
The busier the administrator, the greater the potential need for a Radio Officer capable of providing (by his/her own ability or those of others) clerical, administrative, management, computer graphics, data base or word processing talent, editorial ability; all skills other than just those of the emergency radio operator. Observing these needs comes from frequent visits with a "how can I help" attitude in mind at all times. Few busy people will turn away skilled and competent help, quietly offered and efficiently implemented with management skills.
Certainly, doing this can take time and effort, but the rewards to the Radio Officer, as well as the agency, are immeasurable. It is a real win-win situation when carefully studied and implemented.
CA State OES began the Bulletins in the early 1950's to assist agencies and radio operators to become more familiar with RACES. They were issued periodically until 1985, at which time they began to be issued weekly over voice and digital radio systems of Amateur Radio and in print. Originally intended for California, increased demand, and a 1988 request by the ARRL for national distribution, led to their eventual worldwide distribution.