From ARRL de WD1CKS@VERT/WLARB to QST on Thursday, April 21, 2022 20:21:07
04/21/2022 The Hawaii Amateur Radio Emergency Service¨ (ARES¨) conducted an operational readiness drill on April 16 to evaluate their emergency communications abilities if severe weather were to hit the state and disable regular communications.
The exercise simulated a 4-day period of catastrophic rain and wind covering the Hawaiian Islands, from Kauai to the Big Island, which took out power, internet, and cell phone towers. State, local, and federal agencies participated in the exercise to evaluate ARES members and non-members for radio operations and procedures.
ARRL Director of Emergency Management Josh Johnston, KE5MHV, expressed that it's important for all agencies to work together during emergencies. "It is great to see ARES work this closely with local and state government agencies to overcome obstacles and provide emergency communications for the public," Johnston said. "Hawaii faces challenges that are different than other areas, but the general practice of preparing and exercising is the same anywhere you go."
The Hawaii Office of Homeland Security (OHS) participated in the drill, and OHS Administrator Frank Pace echoed the importance of all agencies working together. "We support the statewide training of amateur radio operators as part of the Incident Command System (ICS) structure, and the deployment of radio stations operated by volunteers, in preparing for disaster situations," he said.
There are 3,800 amateur radio operators in Hawaii, and OHS Statewide Interoperability Coordinator Everett Kaneshige said that coordinating all efforts is critical. "It is exciting to see the incorporation of innovative technology, such as the amateur radio-developed GPS software mapping capabilities," said Kaneshige. "Having multiple outlets for communication during a crisis is critical."
An article about the exercise was published by KITV 4 Island News.
To learn more about amateur radio and ARES in Hawaii, visit www.hamradiohawaii.com or the Ham Radio Hawaii Facebook group.