Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Once again it has been a while since my last post. Over the past couple of months I have studied for and acquired my Technician, General and Extra Class Amateur Radio Licenses. It was an involved process that required a good deal of studying and even refiring all the math synapses in my brain that had gone dormant. But I made it through the tests and the FCC has seen fit to grant me all of my licenses.

As a result of my entering into the Ham Radio hobby the reasons that the Federal Government supports this endeavor have become very clear to me. In the event of any disaster a large burden of the emergency communications work is handled by hams in the civilian realm. Emergency communications are handled by several groups, two of which are ARES and RACES. These groups support local, state and federal government with coordination of key communications including the military.

Ya'll may have thought that the g-men had this covered but they don't. Almost every service uses different systems and frequencies the the ability to inter communicate in the event of a disaster is not there. The Amateur Radio Community pulls all of these government entities together along with private relief organizations such as the Red Cross and the North American Mission Board.

I have become involved in the RACES organization to help provide rescue communications and coordination. In the process of this I have had to take several FEMA courses to obtain my qualifications to help. These courses are available online to anyone who wishes to take them. I reccomend that everyone go through some of the information available at the FEMA website. Here is a direct link:


One of the things I already knew that has been reiterated time and time again is the the Federal Government is not legally responsible for your immediate safety or to rescue in times of disaster. Your first official line of defense is yourself. You are supposed to have enough emergency rations and equipment on hand to take care of yourself for at least 72 hours.

The second entity responsible for helping you is your local government then the third is the state. Federal assistance can not be provided until requested by your states governor. The Feds can't send anyone until that request is made. So if you think the G-men are going to be at your door in a few hours to rescue you in the event of a disaster you are dead wrong and may die while you wait. FEMA takes a minimum of 72 hours to start mobilization after the President declares a Federal Disaster. So you better be prepared to take care of yourself for quite a while. If you are not prepared to feed yourself, provide yourself with shelter and basic first aid then don't expect it from the government anytime soon.

In order to understand the process and better prepare yourself for an emergency I suggest that everyone take the FEMA IS-7 online course. Here is a direct link to the material:


If you don't take some steps to prepare yourself for an emergency and realize that you are on your on for at least three days according to how the system works then you may just find yourself going hungry for several days at best. At worst you could find yourself hungry, hurt and alone in the dark for quite some time and could die while waiting for help that you always assumed was just a phone call away. Prepare yourself for a potential disaster or be prepared to suffer the consequences.

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