Opportunities for Emergency Service for Amateur Radio Operators

Also includes web site links

Comments, suggestions, additions, and corrections are appreciated.

Providing life-saving communications in times of emergency is probably the best known aspect of the amateur radio hobby. At times normal communication may be sporadic or non-existent due to hurricane, earthquake, fire, tornado, plane crash, or any other disaster situation. Helping fellow human beings in these kinds of situations can be a source of great satisfaction for hams. The emotional benefits can last a lifetime.

In the United States the Federal Communications Commision not only permits, but also encourages, amateur radio operators to help in times of emergency. Section 97.401(a) of the FCC rules state:

"When normal communication systems are overloaded, damaged, or disrupted because a disaster has occurred, or is likely to occur ... an amateur station may make transmissions necessary to meet essential communication needs and facilitate relief actions."

Editorial comment: A great concern in the amateur radio community is that of losing spectrum to commercial interests. Since ham radio's biggest "selling point" is that of its emergency communication abilities, amateur radio operators are often called upon in times of crisis to provide backup or primary communications. It is imperative that there be available appropriate spectrum (frequencies) for hams to accomplish this task. Quite often during an emergency amateur radio is a community's ONLY means of communications. It is important that as many licensed amateurs as possible are active in some emergency service organisation. In this way visibility of amateur radio is increased to both individuals as well as various levels of government. It is only when amateurs are involved that we can keep our frequencies from being sold to the highest bidder.

There are many opportunities for amateur radio operators around the world to assist their communities during emergencies or otherwise. In addition to emergencies, some of the organisations below also provide communications as a public service, such as for bicycle races, parades, marathons, etc. The following list is only a sample of what is available. Anyone who desires to submit a group for inclusion here is invited to do so, regardless of the group's location. See emergency service communication in action.

Other Sites of Interest for Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Volunteers

Disaster Communication and Alert Systems - Information collection and dissemination.
The Emergency Email Network - Get notified of an emergency by e-mail or pager, especially helpful in inclimate weather
What's in your "Go" Kit? - Info on how to assemble a "go bag" for emergency service.

Emergency Preparedness for Families and Individuals

Page last updated January 27, 2009.

This page created by Mary-Frances R. Bartels (KIDZ)

Comments and suggestions may be sent to KIDZ.

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