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Joined: Sat, Apr 4th 1998, 00:00 Roles: N/A Moderates: N/A

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ICS AUXCOMM vs. ARES and others KJ4ZIH on 23/5/18
I completely agree with the last post from N7HQR.
I am the Emergency Management Communications Lead for my hospital and have been for the last 8 years. I have watched the EM Comm area grow into areas I never saw coming 8 years ago. Along with that growth came a change in the way we deal with communications, and the volunteers who come to help.

When I became the EM ComL here I thought it was just talking on the radio with other hams, on our local Med frequency to ambulances, occasionally with Police and Fire. The truth I have learned, and have had a hand in forming, is that there is actually not as much radio involved in EM Comm as one would think, but there is a great deal of communicating going on, and a ComL needs to know how all that works.

In our EOC we use EMResources, E-Team, and our local in-house comms systems as well as satellite systems as part of our EM Comm position. When someone walks into our EOC to help with Comm they need to know and understand ALL the communications in front of them. That means they need to be trained ahead of time and need to participate with us in our exercises, not the mention needing to provide them with very limited access to our network systems. That's a whole other can of worms!

As healthcare changes, and with the recent changes in CMS EM requirements, we also need to credential anyone who will work in our facility. That means getting badged and going through our orientation for the hospital, just as any new associate would. This gives them a understanding of our policies, particularly HIPPA, and our expectations, and gives us the means to justify their existence in our facility when CMS and Joint Commission come around for an audit to show they have been trained and vetted.

So you can see that we need a very specific group of volunteers available to us. Sadly, our local ARES group has not been willing to provide us with those folks. Their current model is to send Hams where-ever they are needed, (at the request of the city or county EM), and what is left over they will send us if we need someone.

Let me state right here and now, this is my experience with my LOCAL ARES group. In talking to Hams and other ARES groups outside of our area they tell me this is not the case in other areas. I consider it our loss that we cannot use them.

Long story short, when someone walks into my EOC to help with Comm's, they need to be a communicator - period! They need to be able to understand and operate all communications systems in front of them, and leave any preconceived notions of who they are and how they are going to help us at the door.

Also, let me say this very clearly: Those communicators need to be licensed HAMS, because Ham Radio is a large part of our EOC Comm position. While I said earlier that there is not as much radio in EM as one might think there is still a LOT of radio in EM, and a licensed Ham brings a better understanding of that to the table.

I strongly encourage more Hams to get involved in Emergency Management Communications, just understand that our needs are greater than just Ham Radio.

Jimm K5RWS
Christus St. Vincent Health Systems
Emergency Management Communications Lead.

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