The key to a successful recovery operation is establishing relationships with officials in local government, hospitals, and similar public service agencies *before* disaster strikes. Amateurs need to educate these officials on how Amateur Radio operators can and will participate by being integrated into existing disaster preparation and relief efforts.
And officials need to understand that Amateurs in their communities have already invested thousands of dollars in equipment to engage in daily radio communications and that by establishing working relationships they can tap that ready resource with little or no outlay on their part.
Amateur Radio is reliable in emergencies because the hams in the affected areas can establish themselves quickly, knowing that others are waiting to pitch in and help out.
Faced with tight budgets, officials welcome the comfort of additional means of disaster communications.
[From the February 1993 issue of "QST" magazine]
"Voice communication was the most flexible means of sharing a radio channel between several agencies, but the hard-copy packet messages proved most effective in directing operations."
---Ron Hashiro, KH6JCA, following Hurricane Iniki