There are certain aspects of the emergency management agency that the Radio Officer needs to KNOW, from experience and on-going participation, otherwise he/she is not in the position of fulfilling that role adequately.
- Familiarity with all activities of the jurisdiction.
- Systems; i.e., must know what the existing communications systems are, and how to augment them most effectively.
- In a call-out must know what NEEDS to be done; what MAY be done; what MAY NEED to be done; And what should NEVER be done.
- Be proactive, yet distinguish the real from the false in what people expect of the unit.
- An effective leader to those who want to serve their government in emergency communications
- Learn to delegate effectively.
- Able to think through how to handle, register, keep track of, and manage Mutual Aid responders and/or level 2 volunteers where applicable.
- Be neither a "yes" person, nor a "no" person in the relationship with the agency staff person to whom the Radio Officer is responsible. Instead be responsive to the need of that person in an effective and understanding manner.
- Be an effective liaison to any and all resources that can be utilized in an emergency.
- All of the above while at the same time augmenting the paid staff in ways that they come to depend on the Radio Officer in the same way as the most important key paid staff. Do whatever needs to be done in support of the mission of the emergency communications unit. This may well mean countless hours of personal involvement in intricate details that seem far removed from on-the-air operations, yet are the very basis upon which reliance, trust and confidence by agency personnel is based.
Cary Mangum, W6WWW, CA State Office of Emergency Services, Chief State Radio Officer. (Volunteer)