Photo and story by Cindi Barker, local preparedness volunteer/organizer
The WSB Disaster Preparedness Month series so far has been focused on highlighting things you can do to prepare yourself for an emergency, and what our community has been doing as well. But today and tomorrow, there is an event held here in West Seattle that serves as a reminder of the many volunteers and broader organizations that are part of emergency preparedness.
The multi-state Communications Academy is being held this weekend at South Seattle Community College. These volunteer HAM radio operators spend their weekend acquiring new skills and better preparing themselves to respond in a disaster. This skill is seeing a resurgence of interest; in the past year, more than 640 new HAMs were licensed in Western Washington, including a good number of youth.
If you (or your teenager) have an interest in HAM radio here are a couple of ways to get involved:
*The national organization supporting HAM radio is ARRL (Amateur Radio Relay League): www.arrl.org
*Locally, the most active service branch is the Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS), part of a larger grouping called ARES/RACES. This group provides HAM radio support in the Seattle Emergency Operations Center; information at seattleacs.com
*HAMs also support the Western Washington Medical Services group, www.ww7mst.org
Even more locally, there’s been talk of revitalizing the West Seattle HAM Radio Club; we’ll report more when that happens.
Editor’s note: Thanks to Cindi for the report! Our nightly reminders: Join the West Seattle Be Prepared group on Facebook if you haven’t already; browse the West Seattle Be Prepared website make sure everyone in your family knows about your nearest Emergency Communication Hub; and take the city’s “3 to Get Ready Challenge“ (WSB sponsor) – 3 preparedness steps, to share with 3 people (with prizes!).