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Author Topic: Do served organizations really want our help?  (Read 3829 times)
N8AUC
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Posts: 587




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« Reply #30 on: June 19, 2019, 02:18:10 PM »

Yes they do.

I am currently serving as both a District EC and a county EC in Ohio ARES.
On Monday, I got called into a rather large meeting with our city EMA director about providing comms support for a very large event next month.
Our Emergency Management people appreciate the additional situational awareness by monitoring our radio traffic. In a lot of cases, we serve as
additional eyes and ears for the public safety officials.

In fact, they value us enough, that a city that is so broke they can't pay attention, came up with the money to purchase and install amateur radio
antennas on the roof of the building that contains their EOC. And they wouldn't permit us to install the antennas, they insisted on paying a
contractor to do it to our specifications. That was probably for insurance purposes.

The "secrets" to being wanted are fairly simple:
1) Take the FEMA NIMS/ICS training required.
2) Build and maintain relationships with the leadership in your served agencies.
3) Only come when you're called - never self-deploy.
4) Present yourself in a professional manner. If you want to be treated as a professional, you must look and act that way.
5) Remember that you are there to serve, not give orders and/or make demands. Conduct yourself accordingly.
6) Never "write a check that you can't cash".
    This means that when you better be able to do what you say you can do, and never make a commitment that you can't honor.

As a matter of fact, ARES support is specifically written into a few different emergency support functions in both our city and
county emergency operations plans.

So yes, our help is definitely wanted. But we're like any other tool. You use what is needed to get a specific task accomplished.
We don't get called for every little thing. We get called when we are needed, and we don't get called when we aren't.

« Last Edit: June 19, 2019, 02:24:33 PM by N8AUC » Logged
KB8VUL
Member

Posts: 278




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« Reply #31 on: June 20, 2019, 04:36:24 AM »

Adding to that, remember that you are a tool to the EMA or whatever agency you serve.  One tool of many, and you may or may not be used.
The other thing to realize is that you should always show up prepared, and be self sufficient. Meaning have everything including toilet paper for your use.
They may be providing lunch, but bring your own, and BRING YOUR OWN WATER /COFFEE.  Nothing shows that you are squared away and prepared as having your own water and food.
And keep it basic.  DOn't do dumb stuff like start cooking bacon and making everyone else hungry. 

Yes, if the served agency had contractors install your antennas it was a liability thing.  Any time you are working around their primary radios, there is a possibility that something could get damaged that someone would need to immediately fix.  The truth is you don't want that responsibility and you REALLY don't what to be the ones that take them off the air by accident.  I know this because I AM one of those contractors.  I have installed and or replaced some of those antennas and I HAVE made a mistake and taken someone off the air by accident.  A side note to this, don't demand a Diamond 500 or some other 18 foot long antenna be installed on their building.  You are not trying to talk to Mars, keep it reasonable.  And orange coax will work.  If' it's the 50 ohm stuff. (Private joke)

We as hams (technical people) need to bring technical tools to the table beyond basic communications.  Internet and WiFi, mesh networking, video streams from outlying areas, and other technical solutions for issues that will be faced by the public as well as the served agency.  But as it was mentioned before, make sure you can provide anything that you are claiming that you can provide and be able to do it several different ways.  Because if we show up and all we can do is talk on the radio, we will be doing grunt work,,, and beings that we are aging, that's not really an option for many of us any more.
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