[aprssig] APRS in Disaster area

Keith - VE7GDH ve7gdh at rac.ca
Sat Sep 3 12:08:47 CDT 2005

Pete AE5PL wrote on 03/09/2005

> You want to help, everyone does. But making recommendations from the
> comfort of your home in Annapolis without ANY communications with the
> people on the ground in the affected areas does nobody any good except
> your ego. If you want to go there and help (and follow instructions),
> feel free to sign up at http://katrina.ab2m.net/ IF you feel you meet
> the stated requirements. Otherwise, PLEASE DESIST.

I don't think that Bob has been suggesting that people hop in their trucks and start heading towards New Orleans and start getting in the way. What he has been saying is more along the lines of planning and discussing the APRS network and other means that hams can help in any emergency situation. In a disaster, those directly affected must very often first sometimes help themselves. Then help comes from those around them that might be slightly better off than they are. Then the "authorities" eventually get involved and outside help starts to pour in. These things take time - sometimes hard to understand if you have spent 5 days in a stadium with 10,000 other people. You are right that hams should help by doing what is requested by the authorities, but if they aren't directly involved and if they live on the perimeter of the disaster, why not let them do what they do all of the time? Why not let them make use of their HF rigs, VHF & UHF HTs, TNCs in terminal mode, APRS etc.?

If there are directed nets, they should monitor and only transmit if requested to... e.g. "is there anyone in "Some Town LA" that can take traffic? "Does anyone have a portable HF rig, battery, solar panel, generator, antenna" "Is there a station at or near such and such hospital that can take traffic" or "Is that a station that can set up temporary communications at the EOC at Somewhere LA" and so on.

Providing direct help to people needs putting people and right on the ground to bring water, provide transport, provide first aid and medical attention and so on, but it all needs communications to make it work. In "normal" situations, all of the groups that normally provide these sorts of things have their own communications. In a disaster, it will often be the innovators that can help provide communications. If they aren't getting in the way, let them communicate.

73 es cul - Keith VE7GDH
"Sitting in the comfort of my living room waiting for the ground to start shaking"

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