Part 97 Basis and Purpose
47 CFR 97.1(a) of the FCC Rules and Regulations defines the purpose of the Amateur Radio Service in part as “Recognition and enhancement of the value of the amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications.”
I practice what I preach. I’ve always been a strong promoter and a hands-on player in the Amateur Radio emergency communications arena. During my career as a radio amateur, I’ve served as an Official Emergency Station, an Assistant Emergency Coordinator, and a District Emergency Coordinator.
As an ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator, I was tasked with supervising the SKYWARN® program. This was the beginning of my journey in EmComm and it fueled my passion for emergency communication. In this role, I learned valuable skills such as managing resources, coordinating with local authorities, and working in high-pressure situations. The experience gave me a sense of fulfillment and motivation to continue in this field. I am grateful for the opportunity to serve my community and contribute to the betterment of emergency communication. The program has been a critical tool in assisting the government in developing weather warnings and protecting people and property during extreme weather events. I saw what a tornado can do when I was assigned as an Amateur Radio operator in Cardington, Ohio.
A few years later, I was appointed as the first-ever District Emergency Coordinator for District 6, which is responsible for North Central Ohio. In this role, I led a team of 10 county Emergency Coordinators, overseeing emergency response and preparedness efforts across the district. This is an important responsibility, and I was committed to ensuring that our communities were well-prepared for any potential emergencies or disasters. I worked closely with my team and local stakeholders to ensure the safety and well-being of all residents in our district.
In the latter part of 1980, the Chief Meteorologist for Ohio formed a coalition between the National Weather Service and Amateur Radio called the SKYWARN Steering Committee. As a member of this committee, I worked closely with both the National Weather Service and our county emergency coordinators. Our collaboration was aimed at improving weather-related communication and response efforts. Together, we developed strategies and protocols for collecting and sharing real-time weather data, as well as coordinating emergency responses during severe weather events.
Thanks to our joint efforts, we are better equipped to keep our communities safe and informed during times of weather-related crisis.
ARES Connect is a robust and efficient data entry/retrieval portal, report generator and management system for all Amateur Radio public service volunteers.
I authored an article in the July, 2020 issue of the ARES Letter entitled ARES CONNECT Update: Connecting Amateur Radio Volunteers with a Purpose. I provided support and documentation for this product throughout the ARRL field organization until it was sunsetted by the League in 2021.
Local Emergency Planning Committee
I have had the honor of serving as Vice Chair of the Richland County Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC).
LEPCs are a group of individuals that are nominated by the County Commissioners and approved by the SERC. LEPC members are volunteers and serve a two-year (2) term of office. They are reappointed during the odd-numbered years. The membership of an LEPC must include, without limitation, personnel from each of these groups: elected state and local officials, law enforcement, emergency management, firefighting, first aid, health, local environmental, hospital, transportation, broadcast/print media, community groups, and facilities subject to ORC, Chapter 3750.
The LEPC is responsible for receiving and maintaining all information pertaining to extremely hazardous substances in the county. The LEPC writes the county Chemical Emergency Response and Preparedness Plan, and annual exercises that ensure the county is prepared to respond to and handle a chemical release and protect its citizenry. The LEPC receives all notices and follow-up notices on hazardous substance releases. The LEPC also establishes and carries out a program to monitor regulated facilities in the district and conduct compliance and enforcement activities to ensure facilities are complying with ORC 3750.
Emergency Management Association of Ohio
The Ohio Amateur Radio Emergency Service program and the Emergency Management Association of Ohio (EMAO) have had an exceptional partnership for many years, which has demonstrated an exemplary commitment to enhancing emergency preparedness and response across our great state.
I became an integral part of the Education Committee of EMAO to ensure that Ohio’s ARES program was always at the forefront. One of this committee’s duties encompassed coordinating guest speakers to deliver focused presentations on current and critical topics of the day, including Amateur Radio. These presentations were a part of a larger more encompassing conference that was held twice a year for all of Ohio’s EMA Directors and state leadership.
The Ohio ARES program and its association with EMAO is an important part of the state’s emergency response system. By providing volunteers with the necessary training and education, ARES volunteers can provide a valuable service to their communities during times of emergency. Through their dedication and commitment, ARES members have helped to ensure that the public is aware of the importance of emergency communication and that the state is prepared to respond to any disaster.
The synergy achieved through the collaboration with the Emergency Management Association of Ohio has amplified the impact of the Ohio ARES program. By working together, these two organizations have forged a strong alliance that integrates emergency communication capabilities seamlessly into the broader emergency management framework. This integration not only enhanced the efficiency of communication during crises but also ensured that vital information reaches those who need it most, our communities.
As Section Manager, I involved the Ohio ARES program in the OP3 Project, an Ohio Public/Private Partnership. OP3 provides current information and situational awareness on disaster prevention, response, and recovery efforts to state agency and business executives, allowing decisions and resources to best support the needs of impacted communities. Currently, there are more than 500 member organizations participating in the program.