Saturday, November 22, 2014

Amateur Radio in the 2014 National Emergency Communications Plan

DHS has published the 2014 update to the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) and it recommends greater cooperation beetween federal, state and local government agengies and with the Amateur Radio Service.

Source: Department of Homeland Security

The Amateur Radio Service is defined as "A radio communication service for the purpose of self-training, intercommunication, and technical investigations carried out by amateurs, who are duly authorized persons interested in radio technique solely with a personal aim and without pecuniary interest."

The NECP says that amateur radio operators "can be important conduits for relaying information to response agencies and personnel when other forms of communications have failed or have been disrupted."

"With assistance from DHS, State, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions should assess their existing governance structures to ensure they are positioned to address current and emerging policy, technology, and planning developments.  This could include adding representatives to Statewide Interoperability Governing Bodies and Statewide Interoperability Executive Committees from associations, organizations, or agencies that support or rely on communications during response and recovery operations (e.g., emergency management agencies, 9-1-1 boards, hospital associations, utilities, and amateur radio organizations)."

"Federal, State, local, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions should identify domestic and international entities with potential roles in information sharing and the delivery of emergency communications during emergencies (e.g., utility companies, amateur radio operators, nongovernmental organizations, media companies, and telecommunications owners, operators, manufacturers, and suppliers).  As appropriate, these entities should be incorporated into training and exercise activities on a more regular basis.  This includes involving the appropriate stakeholders in curriculum or exercise design and execution, as necessary."

"Likewise, volunteer organizations such as community emergency response teams and auxiliary communications volunteers (e.g., amateur radio operators; also called Hams) play key roles in emergency communications and preparedness.  Volunteer emergency communications operators and groups using amateur radio have been providing backup communications to event planners, public safety officials, and emergency managers at all levels of government for nearly 100 years.  Often, amateur radio services have been used when other forms of communications have failed or have been disrupted.  Today, nearly all the States and territories have incorporated some level of participation by amateur radio auxiliary communication operators into their Tactical Interoperable Communications Plans and Statewide Communication Interoperability Plans; this allows them to quickly integrate the operators into response efforts, which can strengthen communications and operations during incidents of any scale.

FCC:  Uses and Capabilities of Amateur Radio Service Communications in Emergencies and Disaster Relief

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