Emcomm – Emergency and Disaster Communications

Sometimes it’s called Emergency Communications, sometimes it’s called Disaster Communications.

While what we call it is up for debate, we know it is one of the factors that attracts many to the hobby.

It wasn’t that way for me. I started off volunteering at public service events to gain experience. Over the years I worked about a half dozen events per year. Then the 2005 floods hit, first in High River and a month later in Calgary and I got my first taste of providing communications during a natural disaster, and they called on all the skills I’d acquired up until then. I realized I needed more skills, so I stepped up to about a dozen events per year and traveled around Western Canada to do so.

But to paraphrase the line from the 1970’s song from Bachman Turner Overdrive, I ain’t seen nothing yet, and the Floods of Southern Alberta hit in June of 2013 displacing over 100,000 people from their homes and disrupting landlines, internet and cellular communications.

I was the Lead for the Ham Radio response during the 2013 Floods in High River Alberta. I’ve given several presentations (some can be found on YouTube) and written   three   articles about what we experienced and could have done better as a result.

And sometimes, the disaster comes during one of those public service events, like when we had to evacuate a Rallysport course due to extreme weather.

 

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