|The year 2001 brought some serious concerns to the amateur world for providing long term Emergency Communications. It got many of us thinking about the
counties that we live in, and questioning our readiness, abilities, and skills to handle such an event locally, or on a larger scale volunteering to assist other amateurs in the area affected.
A group of members from the Butler County VHF Association (W8CCI), for over 30 years, provided amateur communications support for the Hamilton Red Cross and Butler County EMA. Likewise the Dial Radio Club of Middletown provided the Middletown Red Cross Chapter with amateur communications.
July of 2002 the W8CCI group participated in the County Wide Disaster Exercise coordinated by the Butler County EMA and the Red Cross Chapters in Hamilton and Middletown.
We had "post" which created an easy to find semi-fixed location for public officials and other operators to report to.
It was also a full powered mobile unit with two other operators on portables that can act as "runners" to deliver messages and respond with an immediate reply, relayed via the mobile operator at the "post", back to the Communications Center.
Critical post were limited to 2 operators, the hospital operators were suppost to be a team of 2, only 1 operator was available per hospital. The Red Cross Chapter in Hamilton stayed in contact via a 155 Mhz radio system, and there was no operator available at the Middletown Chapter.
Simply put, we did not have enough operators to fill in all the locations that needed coverage, and this was a planned drill!
Having inadequate resources to fill the assignments on this drill caused the group to begin looking at the other clubs in Butler County for additional operators.
In August 2002 we visited the other two major clubs in the county at their montly meetings.
We found other amateur operators also felt the need to strengthen the emergency communications in the county.
During a monday night informal get together, we began planning training to make available to the team members, for those that want to be more involved.
Red Cross offers First Aid, CPR and Disaster Services courses such as Introduction to Disasters, Damage Assessment, Shelter Management, Emergency Assistance to Families, and Emergency Response Vehicle Driving.
The Butler County EMA provides training for Terrorism Awareness, Emergency Response Guide Awareness, and Emergency Operations Center courses, for those that want to take them.
The ARRL also provides additional training for communicators through the Certification and Continuing Education Program (CCEP) courses, for those who want to take them.
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level I
(Entry level for every Emergency Communicator)
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level II
(for NCS, NCO, AEC's, Net Managers etc.)
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level III
( Organizational management level personnel)
These are certificate courses that carry CEU credits.
As other training becomes available that would be of interest or fills a need of the Emergency Communications group, it too will be posted, for those who would like to get the training.
Note: We encourage everyone to take advantage of any and all of the training available to us, however, it is NOT required to take any of it to participate as an amateur radio operator.
The Butler County ARES/RACES Team is an entity of its own.
It is not a recruitment for any of the existing radio clubs in the county.
Through Memorandum's of Understanding (MOU's) the Amateur Radio Emergency Services Team either has or will have a written agreement with the repeater owners inside of and bordering Butler County for the use of thier equipment on a daily basis and on a secondary or as needed basis for conducting Emergency, Priority, Health and Welfare traffic and occassionally for training.
W8CCI has entered into a MOU for ARES use of the facility at D. Russell Lee,
to be used as the
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Center.
There is no requirement that you belong to any of the existing amateur radio clubs to belong to the ARES team.
ARES is an independant organization, that will utilize any licensed amateur radio operator that is willing to be involved in Emergency Communications.
These are the facts, please let the rumors R.I.P.