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Author Topic: Consistency vs Dictatorship  (Read 829 times)
W0IPL
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« on: November 15, 2005, 08:48:06 AM »

Katrina has proven that we, as a nation, have far too many "Emergency
Communication" groups. I'm sure that there are several people that
already have their backs up about that statement but let's look at why
I say there ARE too many groups.

In another thread one post says "find the group that you are most
comfortable with". HUH? That strongly implies that there are groups that
are run as a dictatorship. That is to say that a given unit is autonomous
enough that the "leader" can do what ever he chooses. I have seen that
in many groups. The EC (or what ever title he/she has) can do what ever
they want in training, operations, meetings, membership, etc. That
latitude is commendable much of the time, but really gets in the way of
an efficient and functional unit if there is EVER a need for mutual
aid.

Within any organization there are V A S T differences in the training
provided and indeed, not just the subjects but the quality provided.
A specific example; During the early aftermath of Katrina there were
multiple operators from specific groups (my purpose is to address the
sickness and not the symptom, so I will not specify which ones) that
did not understand what a tactical call was, much less know how to use
one. Yet these people were "fully trained", per their group. Those same
people were unable to compose a message in anything but chit-chat mode.
Yet they were known as "fully trained". Oh really?

Basic training should and in fact MUST be consistent throughout the
nation, no matter which organization or group within that organization
an individual is a member of. Within ARES (it may seem that I am
picking on the ARRL but only because almost everyone has experience
with ARES [good, bad, or indifferent]) there are significant differences
in training between groups that are adjacent to one another. If your
next door neighbor has good training, why can't you? The answer is very
simple, it's called NIH - Not Invented Here! Far too many groups are
run as a dictatorship to "provide latitude" in how they run their
organization. Latitude IS good if it does NOT impede or restrict
adequate training. Katrina proved that we are not properly trained so
I would have to say it is not working as currently implemented,
a.k.a. BAD (Broken As Designed).

Up until early 2000 there was no nation-wide standard for emergency
communications training and there still isn't. The ARRL's ARECC
courses, however, are a first try at implementing such a process. Are
they shining examples of what we need? I'm skeptical but they ARE a
good starting point. Until late 2000 there was NO consistency in
training anywhere but we now have a starting point. Why then do we not
use it? I'll bet it is two things:
1) N.I.H. - the dictator didn't invent it so it could not be good
2) Dictators seldom relinquish power without a struggle
3) (See I lied, it's three not two) People are afraid that if they
complain, they will get stuck with doing something about it (work)

So the real question is - are we content with looking like buffoons when
we have a mutual aid situation or do we want to improve? I hope the
answer is IMPROVE.

C Ya
Pat

P.S. I'm sure that there ARE a few units that have EXCELLENT training
but they are a small percentage of the nation.
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KD4SQ
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2005, 09:56:57 AM »

Pat has hit on a real problem.  If we don't solve it, it is going to be solved for us with reassignment of the frequencies to some group that can solve the problems.

First a little background.  I was very heavy into emergency services communications back around the time of Hurricane Andrew.  I dropped out for a little while, and came back just before Katrina.  Not being trained or current, I sat Katrina out except for handling a little health and welfare on HF.  When Wilma came across I pretty much had my ducks in a row, and was ready to function at 10:00 on the morning the storm passed.  I called the net on the advertised emergency frequency that we populate every Wednesday night, and got no answer.  That happened several times over the next three or four days.  When they called for debrief on the local reflector, I commented on that, and the fact that the emergency responders were handling information on the internet when 98% of the power in my area was out.  An immediate flame war erupted because one "trained" operator took my observation that the net frequency was unguarded as a personal affront.  I guess that in a way it was.  Anyway, she became very abusive, and I responded that being a volunteer was no excuse for doing slip-shod work.  At that point, the net manager cut off my posting privileges without informing me.  My responses just disappeared.  I still think that someone should try to figure out why a published emergency frequency had no guard, but I suspect that I will have fun with some other aspect of ham radio, because it is no fun to play with dictators.

Doug KD4SQ
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W0IPL
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2005, 06:37:48 PM »

Well Doug, sorry to hear you had a problem with a dictator but you are no where close to the subject I am attempting to address.

Each ARES district is operated as a virtual dictatorship with the EC able to control the training, operation and staffing of his group. He may, at his discretion, follow the training in the ARECC courses or totally ignore it.  My intent is to get consistent training on a nation wide basis so that we can support mutual aid with minimum problems.

The person charged with moderating a reflector is a - totally - different situation. Your choices are to either follow his/her direction or go elsewhere.

Pat
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KD4SQ
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2005, 09:07:33 PM »

Pat, I need to go take some more classes in journalism.  The point was that the person controlling the reflector *was* the person in charge of emergency responders.  The after action report was being compiled on the reflector, and I was told in no uncertain terms that if I didn't like the way the net controls were trained, I could go elsewhere.  You can look at the rolls of the hams who have taken EC-001 and never find anyone *certified* for emergency response in this area.
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KE4SKY
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« Reply #4 on: November 16, 2005, 06:18:01 AM »

All anyone needs to do is see how the League has handled EmCom in the Virginia and Oregon section to know who is running the dictatorship out of Newington, CT.

When I was DEC in Northern Virginia I incurred the rath of a multitude of whiners who complained to the ARRL Board about my leadership, and that of the SEC and the then-SM who supported me in requiring standards for training and participation for ARES in Virginia.

The ARRL Board removed AF4CD as the SM because he wouldn't fire KR4UQ and me for doing our jobs.  Now we have an SM who doesn't leave the Virginia Beach and Tidewater area around Norfolk and has left the rest of the state hung out high and dry.  Local emergency managers such as in Arlington, have gotten frustrated in trying to deal with local ECs and are forming their own RACES organizations.

See this link about Arlington, it is the shape of things to come:

http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/AVN/UpdateArlington/UA_10_30_05.aspx
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KE4SKY
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« Reply #5 on: November 16, 2005, 06:22:02 AM »

Sorry, wrong link, use this one

http://www.arlingtonva.us/NewsReleases/Scripts/ViewDetail.asp?Index=1892
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KD4SQ
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« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2005, 09:24:11 AM »

Interesting link, Charles.  I almost missed your point, but then I remembered that being a communicator is at least fifty percent listening and read it again with that in mind.  You are saying that if we don't clean up our act the government structure emergency managers are going to clean it up for us, I think.  Our Section Manager made that point in her newsletter a couple of iterations ago.  She said that ARRL was not requiring the emergency courses, that the requirement was coming out of the state EOC.  For my money that is just fine, as long as someone requires it.  We've got a bunch of communicators around here who are young and have rampant hormones, and are more worried about who and what they are going to do after the shift than keeping their attention on the job at hand.  In a lot of ways I envy them, but they do need training.  And supervision.
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KE4SKY
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2005, 10:18:46 AM »

Yes, you got it right.  It benefits the amateur EmC om organization when emergency management exercises oversight and control, as long as the EM official fully understands the nature of amateur radio, and works with the EmCom organization to identify suitable tasks, training and equipment needs, etc.

Click this link to see the latest recruiting video produced by Arlington Gov. Channel 74:

"http://www.arlingtonva.us/Departments/AVN/UpdateArlington/UA_10_30_05.aspx"

Once at the link click on "watch this weeks episode of Update Arlington. Produced in English and Spanish ;-). The ham radio story is second.

In addition to the video story Arlington Gov. produces an employee e-news letter which ran a promotion to seek out non-licensed county
employees who would like to get their amateur ticket. So far ten persons have enrolled for FCC license and Code classes. We hope to have those classes begin early next year.
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N7WR
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« Reply #8 on: December 06, 2005, 10:35:41 AM »

Those with a sincere interest in amateur radio Emergency Communications and who want to see a focus on training, preparedness, proper equipping, and a systematic, organized approach to major incident response may wish to look at the World Radio Relay League (launched 12/1/05) specifically to address many of the issues discussed in this forum  www.wrrl.org
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