Emergency communications refers to the provision, deployment, utilisation and coordination of communications in conditions of local or widespread civil emergency. Ham radio organisation and volunteers play a key role in many countries in times of emergency.
Amateur operators are especially useful in emergency situations because the are not tied to commercial installations such as phone towers and cable infrastructure. Member of emergency communication organisations are experienced in constructing improvised antenna systems that can be erected and in service at short notice. In addition amateur operators have access to a wide range of frequencies and modes of operation, allowing greater flexibility than most other groups.
Amateur radio has helped out in 9/11, Hurricane Katrina, the 2003 power blackouts in the US, and the Indonesian Tsunami, to name some of the more well known events.
Known Emergency Frequencies
- ACREM Australia Australian Citizens Emergency Monitors.
- CREST Citizens Radio Emergency Service Teams.
- WICEN Australia Wireless Institute Civil Emergency Network. WICEN Australia is the co-ordinating body for the 8 state organisations. Each state organisation is self-governing, but all operate under the auspices of the [WIA]
United Kingdom organisations
- Raynet The (UK) Radio Amateurs' Emergency Network. "The Radio Amateurs’ Emergency Network is the UK’s national voluntary communications service provided for the community by licensed radio amateurs."
United States organizations
- IRESC International Radio Emergency Support Coalition.
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