Last night at the annual Los Angeles County Disaster Communications Service general membership meeting April Moell, WA6OPS, spoke about the Hospital Disaster Communications service in Orange County. Her brief lecture was informative and spoke about the nature of hospital communications in an emergency situation. To my knowledge, DCS doesn’t do anything like this. But it is what I’d hoped to be doing when I joined DCS. Emergency communications. So far we have not had one single activation in which I have participated in the 3 years I have been with DCS. April pointed out that there are two basic structures: the RACES/DCS/ACS structure in which hams are tied to a particular government agency, and the ARES structure, in which ham groups form agreements with entities and are not tied to one specific served agency. I believe the latter has a greater chance for growth. The big difference is that the former requires some sort of administrative official to request activations, following which hams are sent to assignments, and the latter allows hams to self-deploy according to established protocols, thereby saving valuable time. It’s a top-down vs bottom-up approach. I think I will look for an organization that utilizes the latter, if merely for my own sanity: I cannot stand the bureaucratic nonesense that gets in the way of actually doing what we want to do: get communications back up in an emergency situation where minutes count.
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