"The Register article mentioned how the shortage of hams was brought home in September when Hurricane Floyd threatened south Florida. The hams who
normally staff the shelters, the EOC's, and assist the emergency responders were no where to be found. They just didn't have enough to go around.
Ham radio operators become crucial to a community when telephone lines go down, providing links between shelters and Emergency Operations Centers. Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service, or RACES, coordinates with emergency managers."
"The Internet is certainly a tool that will be used in emergencies, but it is dependent on phone lines that may not be operating. When a major earthquake, flood, tornado, hurricane, or massive explosion occurs, the phone lines to the impacted area can be destroyed. The only known 100% fully dependable communications system is amateur radio, or hams.
Huntington Beach is lucky enough to have 85 RACES members. This highly technical group built a packet radio station (a data system that utilizes amateur radio waves to communicate) and is working on an amateur television station for the City.
In addition to the RACES group, there is our CERT Communicator group of 13 Certified CERT Communicators, dedicated volunteers who can help support our communications needs. But the numbers are not nearly high enough."
"Yes, as the article states, we have had a drop in the number of amateur radio operators in the country. But we can remedy this problem locally by either recruiting existing hams to join RACES or recruiting new hams to take training classes and join the CERT Communicators. Your community needs you. Are you up to the challenge?
Ham radio is important to the City's emergency response. If you are looking for a fun hobby and are interested in becoming a community volunteer who will assist in a disaster, join us. Glorria, KE6ATG"