On March 16, Deputy Director Sam Henley met with members of the Lake of the Ozarks Amateur Radio Club and the Camden County Amateur Radio Emergency Service to provide details of what an Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is and what it does in hopes of gaining more volunteers to assist, should the EMA need to operate the EOC.
“Our job is to act as a huge logistics and information firm during large-scale emergencies,” Deputy Director Henley said. “We take in MASSIVE amounts of information from dozens of sources, sort through it, and get it to the proper people/organizations/agencies as quickly and concisely as possible. When the first responding agencies in our county have exhausted all of their resources and mutual aid, the EMA steps in to not only bring in more resources and personnel to help, but works with the staging area to ensure that resources don’t all go directly to a scene at once and overwhelm the incident commander. All of this is managed through the activation of the Emergency Operations Center by our county commission.”
Our guest speaker, Benton County Amateur Radio Emergency Service Assistant Emergency Coordinator and Public Information Officer Renee Cason (KE0LMZ), spoke about the importance of running and participating in weekly nets at not only the local level, but also the regional and statewide level. “Keeping in contact with other amateur radio operators regularly makes it easier if you need to reach out for help during a complete communications failure in which you have to rely on amateur radio to move messages (called ‘traffic’) in large-scale emergencies. You want to keep your training and skills sharp!”
While the EMA is ALWAYS looking for volunteers whose lives have given them a range of skills, our need for great communicators is a fundamental requirement.