WHY SUPPORT HAM RADIO IN
URGENT! American Red Cross Still Needs a Steady Flow of New Amateur Operators (Sep 11, 2005) -- The American Red Cross Montgomery Disaster Relief HQ and ARRL have made an urgent call for more Amateur Radio operators.
This weekend, Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, ARRL Alabama Section Manager, called ARRL with an urgent renewed call for Amateur Radio operators for the Gulf Coast Red Cross disaster relief effort. Sarratt noted that while the initial response to the need for volunteers produced a very gratifying steady flow of operators, the number of new operators has dropped dramatically. He commented that just this morning he had 15 shelters, kitchens, and other support facilities pleading for Amateur Radio communications back to Red Cross Katrina Disaster Relief Headquarters in Montgomery, AL. Although many HF stations are set up around the region, the current need is for deployable 2-meter equipment. Amateurs should continue to bring a complete HF, VHF station and all personal supplies when traveling to the Gulf Coast region.
"Contrary to what one may conclude from listening to the public media, cellular and land-line telephone service is spotty or nonexistent throughout the region. Amateur Radio remains the primary source of emergency communications for a number of critical disaster relief efforts," said Sarratt. Greg and his team in Montgomery have deployed over 75 volunteer operators so far that have traveled from all over. Many of these operators are approaching burnout or need to return to their families and jobs. Sarratt noted, "If an operator comes from a served facility, we need to put in another operator or we will cause a break in the vital communications linkage."
Sarratt said that he is very concerned there may be an unfortunate misconception that operators are no longer needed for the disaster relief effort. In fact, the Red Cross expects to need a large number of Amateur Radio volunteers for at least another two or three weeks to ensure the people inside those shelters receive the proper care they deserve.
Send your availability, deployable departure date and duration to the Montgomery Alabama Amateur processing center at DR871-06RTT-RCO3@usa.redcross.org.