"On November 28, 1999, the Orange County Register ran an article, "Ham radio operators falling by the wayside." The article discussed something near and dear to my heart. There is a worldwide shortage of ham radio operators.
"Some individuals feel amateur radio is a dying art because of the Internet; however, as an Emergency Services Coordinator, I know how important hams are to a community.
"In 1992, Bob Berg, Anaheim's Emergency Services Coordinator, and I spent eight days in Hurricane Andrew's ravaged area of Dade County, Florida. We talked to the survivors who lost their homes, the emergency responders, and the hams. We listened to people tell how they couldn't evacuate because the roads became like parking lots. They were left behind, trapped, injured, and some didn't live to tell their stories. We interviewed firefighters who talked about how their dispatch centers and 9-1-1 phone lines ceased to work when they were most needed. We learned of the handicapped being evacuated to shelters, set up in the path of the devastation, where roofs were blown off and the shelterees were moved from building to building where there was no running water, no food, and no working toilet facilities.
"We can learn from all of these individuals and the horrendous stories they told. As we listened, all the incidents had one thing in common. The one universal factor that was related by the survivors was that ham radio was the only communications source that worked! Communications was the key to survival!"
The loss in the number of Amateur Radio Licensees has caught the interest of a number of people and publications around the country. What follows is an article by Glorria Morrison, Emergency Services Coordinator for the Huntington Beach Fire Department. Glorria is responsible for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) program. In another bulletin we'll detail her work and background.
"A Drop in the Number of Ham Radio Operators" extracted from the January 2000 Issue of the Huntington Beach CERT Newsletter
Continues next bulletin.
The Bulletins are addressed to the Emergency Management Agency (with sub-addresses to others) with the intent that the Radio Officer, ACS Coordinator or other unit participant will deliver them to the agency coordinator, and discuss their topics.