Thursday, May 24, 2018

Net Training - Principles of Disaster Communication

Taken from
Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Field Resources Manual

1.Keep transmissions to a minimum – In a disaster, crucial stations may be weak.  All other stations should remain silent unless they are called upon.  If you’re not sure you should transmit, don’t.

2. Monitor established disaster frequencies. Many A.R.E.S. localities and some geographical areas have established disaster frequencies where someone is always (or nearly always) monitoring for possible calls.

3. Avoid spreading rumors. During and after a disaster situation, especially on phone bands, you may hear almost anything.  Unfortunately, much misinformation is transmitted.  Rumors are started by expansion, deletion, amplification or modification of words, and by exaggeration or interpretation.  All addressed transmissions should be officially authenticated as to their source.  These transmissions should be repeated word for word, if at all, and only when specifically authorized.

4. Authenticate all messages.  Every message which purports to be of an official nature should be written and signed.  Whenever possible, amateurs should avoid initiating disaster or emergency traffic themselves.  We do the communicating; the agency officials we serve supply the content of the communications.

5. Strive for efficiency. Whatever happens in an emergency, you will find hysteria and some amateurs who are activated by the thought that they must be sleepless heroes.  Instead of operating your own station full time at the expense of your health and efficiency, it is much better to serve a shift at one of the best-located and best-equipped stations, suitable for the work at hand, manned by relief shifts of the best-qualified operators.  This reduces interference and secures well-operated stations.

6. Select the mode and band to suit the need. It is a characteristic of all amateurs to believe that their favorite mode and band is superior to all others.  However, the merits of a particular band or mode in a communications emergency should be evaluated impartially with a view to the appropriate use of bands and modes.  There is, of course, no alternative to using what happens to be available, but there are ways to optimize available communications.

7. Use all communications channels intelligently.  While the prime object of emergency communications is to save lives and property (anything else is incidental), Amateur Radio is a secondary communications means; normal channels are primary and should be used if available.  Emergency channels other than amateur which are available in the absence of amateur channels should be utilized without fear of favoritism in the interest of getting the message through.

8.  Don’t “broadcast.”  Some stations in an emergency situation have a tendency to emulate “broadcast” techniques.  While it is true that the general public may be listening, our transmissions are not and should not be made for that purpose.

9. NTS and ARES leadership coordination.  Within the disaster area itself, the ARES is primarily responsible for emergency communications support.  The first priority of those NTS operators who live in or near the disaster area is to make their expertise available to their Emergency Coordinator (EC) where and when needed.  For timely and effective response, this means that NTS operators should talk to their ECs before the time of need so that they will know how to best respond.

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