Served Agencies

Eric Grabowski
 

> Since our only served agency on the island is HCCDA, we’d like them to be included in the exercise.

Although HCCDA is the primary agency we have worked with in the past, I don't agree that it's the only agency we should serve. Shouldn't we figure out ways to support other organizations on the Big Island like the American Red Cross, Salvation Army, Big Island Volunteer Organizations Active in Disaster, Medical Reserve Corps, National Weather Service (SKYWARN), local hospitals, and possibly others?

In other communities where I've lived there were amateur radio operators who were dedicated to individual groups. After a few tornadoes and floods, we learned this strategy was flawed on several levels. The aha moment came when two amateur radio teams were dispatched to the same fire station that was being used as a staging area and field commend post. Setting up two field stations equipped with HF and VHF radios was redundant and a waste of valuable communication assets, plus they interfered with each other. The only reason two separate stations were required was because the two served agencies had privacy restrictions so Hams representing one group could not share information with the Hams in the other group without violating their agency's rules. After that event, we changed our strategy.

Here on the Big Island we don't have enough amateur radio operators trained in emergency communication operations to be able to segregate them by agency; and, there really is no valid reason to do so. I've operated from several field stations since 1969 and can say with confidence that our operators were never so busy passing traffic for one served agency that they didn't have time to pass traffic for any others. Each field team frequently supported county civil defense, red cross, and the weather service without feeling overloaded.

73 and aloha, Eric KH6CQ

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