Arkansas State-Wide Drill


This event is for Amateur Radio, CountyOEMs, Hospital Preparedness Coordinators, Sheriffs Offices and other first responders, with potential involvement in the coming 24 June statewide exercise – and others to come.


  • Themission is to provide emergency communications volunteers for the variousfirst responder organizations in a county or regional area.  The attachments provide the contact information for thevarious personnel.
  • Oneof the best or ideal examples I have seen is Magnolia or Columbia County– where the ARES Radio Emergency Coordinator and several other HAMs rotateat various events, drills or incidents between the OEM office, Sheriff’soffice and the Hospital EOC communications.  This eliminateddependence on just one person and familiarized the group with equipmentand protocol at each of these three stations in Columbia County. 
  • Withthe new FCC interpretations last month, volunteer radio operators areneeded more than ever.  The FCC interpretation now says an amateuroperation cannot transmit on the behalf of their employer except in anemergency – no drill or exercise permitted.  Full-time, part-time,salary, hourly, off or on duty does not matter – you are considered anemployee.  Volunteer operators are thus needed for communicationswhen all else fails. 
  • Locationswhere the radio operator is expected to be a paid employee should startbuilding a phone number list NOW to allow communication during theexercise.  Get the numbers of communication centers you might need tocontact written down for the employee operator to use during theexercise.  If they don't have a number on the day of the exercise,follow the protocol instructions and telephone other operators to obtainthe number of the location they need to send a message to.  For thedrill, telephones can replace actual HAM transmissions.  However, itis better to have a non-employee volunteer HAM to fully test yourequipment, capabilities and protocol.
  • Havea recruitment bar-b-que or meeting.  In a practice meeting orsession, try contacting the radio repeaters, first responders (OEM,Sheriff, Ambulance, Fire and ?) and hospitals in your area.  Thattype of contact is mostly what the exercises and drills usually will haveyou perform to identify any problems in communications.
  • AmateurRadio ECs, elmer/mentors and especially volunteer operators areneeded for a drill that will occur statewide in Arkansas on 24 June, from about 8AMuntil noon, but familiarization is needed before the event. Needed now is external ham support to work with the County OEMoffice for amateur radio communications and with the PreparednessCoordinator in the hospital EOC.  Some sheriff offices may want tohave amateur radio communication alternatives also.  This drill inJune will involve hospitals across the state and usually the county OEM office.  Ambulance, fireand law organizations may also be involved – depending on the drill planand local input.  Most of these exercises will test thecommunications between these first responders in a local area.
  • FCCruling – why have inhouse HAM personnel?  A good example was the MENATornado where an inhouse HAM at the hospital used the amateur radio tolink with the countyOEM and arrange andset up a MAC channel on the AWIN system.  Did not have to wait for avolunteer operator.  After AWIN was working, S & R used amateurfrequencies in the survivor search.


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