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ARRL General Bulletin ARLB049 (1998)

ARLB049 Hams volunteer in emergencies

ARRL Bulletin 49  ARLB049
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  July 14, 1998
To all radio amateurs

ARLB049 Hams volunteer in emergencies

Hams volunteer in emergencies

ARES, RACES, and REACT members cooperated to provide volunteer
communication and other assistance during the recent wildfire
emergency in Florida. Wildfires that began in early June in
drought-stricken areas of Northern Florida raged out of control in
late June and early July, burning thousands of acres of property,
destroying hundreds of homes, and causing upwards of 300 million
dollars in damage. Recent rain has offered some relief, but the fire
danger continues.

Besides providing communication backup at emergency operation
centers, hams also helped at Red Cross shelters set up for those
forced to evacuate. Others served as fire spotters, maintained
formal and informal nets, or stood by as needed.

Northern Florida SEC Nils Millergren, WA4NDA, says the fires were
the worst in memory. ''I've lived in Florida all my life and never
remember anything like this,'' he said.

On a day that should have been a holiday--July 4--hams found
themselves coordinating firefighter and evacuee relief efforts. Hams
even volunteered to load, transport, and unload needed supplies.

Given the ban on fireworks, volunteer firefighter and ham Jeff
Capehart, KE4NIV, called it ''a very unusual Fourth of July'' and
definitely one for the record books.

In West Virginia, ARES and RACES members abandoned their Field Day
effort to help out in the wake of flash flooding that affected parts
of Kanawha and 16 other West Virginia counties. Hams helped in
shelters, assisted relief efforts, and reported on water levels.

In Ohio, hams recently helped during two major flooding episodes,
one involving flash floods in at least 20 counties. Ham radio
weather spotters played a big part in the early stages of the
weather emergencies. ARES groups in affected localities supported
Red Cross and Salvation Army response teams. Overall, ham radio
involvement was minimal because normal lines of communication
remained open.


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