Thread: Helping Cities During Disasters
12-25-1998, 10:21 AM #1markwwFirehouse.com Guest
Helping Cities During Disasters
Hello to all emergency folks here on the Firehouse Magazine. I am a disabled Veteran and retired fire captain. Since I can not do firefighting any more from a severe fire related Injury, I have a amateur radio license and belong to the State Of Texas Races Network which is (radio amatuer civil emergency services). What this means is that we have emergency ham radios, generators lights, equipment, cooking materials and other emergency items and can respond to areas hit by floods,disasters and major emergencies. Since the large floods in Texas and other cities and communities within the state just awhile back. A few of us respond to the disaster site and setup emergency communications due to many phones,cell phones, and county wide radio blackouts. Some communities have emergency EOC's and some dont due to limited manpower, and we use these radios to get federal help, food emergency supplies, doctors, and other agencies to the devistated areas. If a large area is hit that covers many cities we establish radio contact to other emergecy radio operators and stay on the radio passing emergecy messages from the state police, local and county departments to initilize and get the help needed.This could include food, cooking services,military, police, fire,ems,and other emergency organizations, to respond and aid. We also set up communications in the shelters in case messages as for help and or request come from the people inside and route them to the correct agency in the local area.In a disaster, many towns and cities could loose communications due to massive power outages flooding, fires, earthquakes, and other threats which could cut off cities from outside help. I know for a fact when I was in a huge Texas flood situation 2 months ago many towns and cities lost all communications, power, food, electrical and other services and about a half dozen hams responded to the disaster, helped these towns and smaller cities get back on their feet. We routed emergency messages from the stste to the EOC and or other towns that called by ham radio that were in desperation due to loss of power and supplies that were needed and couldn't get into these areas, due to many major roads being flooded and these towns were cut off from the outside. In fact one ham radio operator was the only communications in a 4 town area, 50 miles west,and we sent state police to setup a command post since he had emergency generators and the only power in the whole area . NOW I know that some small departments, and chiefs and smaller communities dont like the outside help and want to deal with it themselves, but when resources are not there and or the areas are cut off that is a hard thing to imagine,. What we are is Mutual Aid Help, and we respond to the disaster areas. Instead of knocking it, and or complaining which some people do, A few People got blinded and self centered and dont care of the folks and people they are to serve and help.They needed what was comming in from the outside which includded medical aid,supplies, emergecy drinking water, federal help and other resources, and all the related supplies in for the people that the people needed who were running short. It is a sad shame to see people in management, turn on the very people they were to help in time of need.HOWEVER- I did find that the county folks and state people and EMO managers knew the situation, and I thank them for seeing the real issues at hand. All we try to do is extend a hand to pull people out of the depths of hopelessness andget the resources to help them in disaster recovery. So folks if you have a disaster and everything goes black dont worry all the emergecy people are their to help one another and will help, we will respond and do what is necessary to help every emergency organization, and city government and county to get back on its feet. What I think is hard today, is that allot of the communities haven't had a large scale emergency at their doorstep, and as a emergency services people we all have that, what if in mind when a disaster strikes.
So dont turn your backs and dont get upset or critizise operations, is it there to help, not only your city, but maybe many coomunities around your area that may be on the brink of loosing peoples lives due to the disasters in hand.
Thanks for letting me voice my issue here
I hope everyone a safe 1999.
12-26-1998, 12:04 AM #2seniorFirehouse.com Guest
I agree with you Mark on this subject. I am the Assistant Chief and a Ham Operator. Also a member of the Prince George's County Ares/Races Team. The ham radio has come to play alot for me in the pass couple of years. Especially when you have multiple incidents crowding the fire ground radio. Or when my cell phone is not working properly. On some occasions there are Firefighter/Hams on the scene that help give us a extra channel to talk on. Have a safe holiday.
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