For all those who are able to look back over several decades of Amateur Radio EmComms and comment that the "traditional" role of it appears to be diminishing, please do read the following which may be an important but apparently often missing aspect in EmComms...
If you can, please watch the following presentation:
"Digital Amateur Radio in Support of Situational Awareness, Common Operating Picture and Community Resilience for 21st Century Emergency Communications"
by Aleks Rohde W3JAG which you can view here:http://arvideonews.com/hrn/HRN_Episode_0045.html
Although the above video presentation points to many potential uses for HAM EmComms, I'll just focus on one:
"A picture is worth a thousand words"
Relaying pictures of events, e.g. this one:http://greenpeaceblogs.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/Hurricane-Sandy-aftermath.jpg
or this one:http://assets.nydailynews.com/polopoly_fs/1.1195049.1351695367!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_635/breezy-point.jpg
may be more important than a thousand words.
How would you put these situations into words? Viewing the above video presentation, you can't help but notice the call to aid in presenting actionable intelligence to EOCs.
There are approximately 700000 Amateur Radio Licensees, of which approx. 350000 are General Class or higher, which should imply that they all have access to all HF bands - allowing long distance communications. That is a very respective number, larger in fact than that of the USMC. Additionally, HAMs are widely distributed. One might even say that we are "everywhere".
Thus, we might be an even more valuable resource out in the field in relaying just one image from wherever we are to a HAM sitting in an EOC, so that we aid officials in increasing their situational awareness, thus helping them make appropriate decisions, sending help where it is needed most.
Who says that we need "only" sit in an EOC or a shelter to relay some messages if and only if some "professional" communications systems fail?
I postulate that a HAM in an EOC may be a most valuable asset in receiving images from all over one's County or State, which detail the situation most impressively.
Have a look at this app for example, which imprints the USNC / MGRS grid locator into an image, including the time and several other details:http://hrtapps.com/theodolite/
Imagine how receiving such images in an EOC may aid in understanding in what is going on out in the County and State, especially when considering that there are so many of us HAMs dispersed over a wide area.
Maybe we are all too focused on the "relaying messages between agencies" topic and miss this important aspect in Emergency Communication, where an image can be more than just useful.
Thus, maybe we should direct some of our attention in getting information to an EOC and not just from it to wherever...?
73 de Marcus KD0JKM