CERT Teams Using Amateur Radio

Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) members know that communication during an emergency is vital. Don Lewis of the Alexandria Radio Club in Virginia wants CERTs around the country to know how amateur radios (aka Ham Radio) can help. The City of Berkeley, California’s CERT has already begun using amateur radios in city-wide disaster drills. In the winter of 2018, they held a 24-hour mock disaster where they practiced their amateur radio skills to better prepare their city. They were able to maintain communications in the whole city for the entire 24-hour exercise. This allowed them to relay critical information to citizens and disaster crews. They were also able to use hams to aid the city during a blackout in November of 2017. The CERTs used solar powered batteries in their amateur radios. This allowed them to function even when power and phones were down. 

Amateur radio instructions are also built into Pasadena, California’s emergency management system. The area experiences earthquakes several times a year. The quakes can destroy cell towers and phone lines in an instant. Ham radios can be a huge asset during a disaster like this, so Pasadena has a network of radio operators trained to take over communications any time they need. They can contact hospitals or fire stations to better serve their community. Ham operators can even aide families in contacting one another once a disaster has passed.

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