"Query: Why do some emergency communications organizations fail to fulfill their potential in serving Government Agencies?
"Response: While there are a variety of units with outstanding records, there are others that either have failed and are failing to do meet that standard. Why? Well, let's look at some reasons.
"The two most frequent causes are: (1) information from incorrect indoctrination materials in the Amateur community; (2) a virus which has infected some personnel. As to #1, problems related to incorrect data was discussed in "Myths About the RACES" and other bulletins. As to #2, the virus (technical name "club syndrome") is a more divisive and insidious problem because it is difficult for those who have been infected to realize they have it. The "club syndrome" virus emerges within an organization, such as an Amateur Radio club, and can affect one or more people. It often leads to a "Good Ol' Boys" group, in which virus-infected people strive desperately to hang onto an often falsely perceived power and authority.
"Notwithstanding their enormous value, some clubs seem to incubate the virus rather than eliminating it, and those infected with it have actually (albeit rarely) denied use of their repeater for emergency use by an ARES or ACS/RACES organization. That, in turn, has caused extensive resource management problems and in some cases, where a club repeater was the only resource, termination of the response along with disenchantment by a public service or public safety agency, which led finally to the demise of the emergency communications unit.
Continues next week