In an emergency many agencies and volunteer groups will respond to the call to help the injured and displaced. In Contra Costa County the Offices of Emergency Service at city and county levels will set up command posts to assist police and fire. The probability of service shortage from these departments is certain and volunteers will be called in to assist with damage assessment, search and rescue, first aid and communication. The 4C’s amateur radio club is a non-profit organization chartered for just such communication service.
Members provide their own equipment and spend many hours on the air contacting other amateurs near and far. The areas of interest range from DX’ing, making contacts in as many states and countries as possible, to volunteering communication service for events such as marathons, cycling and other fund raising causes. These events would not be possible without radio support.
The police and fire services may call on amateur radio for help with parades, fairs, search and rescue and other communication needs. The Contra Costa County Sheriff’s Office has an Auxilliary Communication Service staffed by volunteers. They are provided training in many areas to allow seamless interfacing when assisting Sheriffs’ personnel. Amateur radio operators are also needed for disaster service. Community Emergency Response Teams will need communication ability between Incident Command Posts and Emergency Operation Centers in each city and with the county Office of Emergency Service. The equipment used for this purpose requires licensed operators for its use.
The 4C’s also helps anyone interested in becoming licensed to do so by providing access to training, testing and support with equipment after becoming licensed. 4C’s members are more than willing to help new amateurs, members or not, with equipment problems or understanding equipment operation. When there is need, a weekly tech net is used to hear and answer technical questions.
There are daily and weekly networks (nets) for members to check-in and talk with other members. These nets allow new members to get comfortable with using and talking on the radio. A digital network is also held weekly for training and practice using digital transmission for emergency and disaster service. You’ll learn how to complete, send and receive required FEMA forms. This skill is especially useful for CERT’s and other disaster assistance volunteers.
It’s easy to get started. Just spend a day at a Ham Cram session and you should be able to pass the Technician License exam. This will put you on your way to adding yet another skill to your set and introduce you to a new and exciting hobby. A hobby with the added advantage of possibly saving lives in an emergency. To learn more, visit the 4C’s web at http://wa6kqb.org. We are happy to help you get in to amateur radio communication.
By: djovida, Richmond resident, KJ6WSV