Let’s face it, for the fact that it is: some governments don’t really understand about Emergency Communications Units; they don’t really understand how to work with and utilize volunteers, including hams, some of whom are professional communicators.
"Regrettably, once an agency person has experienced such an unpleasant situation, it can seriously hamper the efforts of more qualified professionals who come along later.”
Quite true, I agreed. One idea that came to mind after our discussion was this: avoid the use of “ham” or “amateurs”. Speak in terms of professional communicators who work without pay, similar to a Search and Rescue Unit (SAR). Call it an ECS Unit - Emergency Communications Support Unit or something similar and raise the expectation up to the emotional “want” level. Stay away from “ham” acronyms that can confuse or trigger past memories.
S/S Cary Mangum, W6WWW, State OES Chief Radio Officer
Originally published as RACES Bulletin 286, by the California Office of Emergency Services, on August 9, 1993