LLIS Best Practice: Use of Amateur Radio Operators to Augment Emergency Communications: Overview   [open pdf - 58KB]

"Communications are a critical component of effective emergency responses at the local, state, and federal levels. Because major emergencies may overwhelm traditional communications systems, developing a secondary, nonstandard system of communications is invaluable for an effective emergency response. For decades, amateur radio operators have organized themselves into volunteer associations with the purpose of assisting in emergency response communications. Because amateur radio operators fund and equip themselves and operate on unique frequencies that are less easily disrupted in the event of an emergency, amateur radio operators represent a cost-effective way of providing auxiliary emergency communications. Should normal communications be disrupted during an emergency, amateur radio operators can ensure continued communication between emergency responders using their own frequencies. Amateur radio operators can also assist emergency responders by managing and easing heavy communications traffic, providing up-to-date information through established communications networks, and helping to locate and facilitate the distribution of muchneeded resources. These best practices discuss how to establish contact and develop a working relationship with existing amateur radio organizations. The practices highlight technical issues that emergency managers should consider when incorporating amateur radio operators into emergency planning. The practices also make recommendations for including amateur radio operators in training exercises and for purchasing or housing useful additional equipment for amateur operators."

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Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS)
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