Hawaiʻi ham radio operators sought for hurricane emergency communications drill

The Hawaiʻi Amateur Radio Emergency Service is seeking ham radio operations to participate in the Makani ‘Ino training exercise on Saturday, July 16 from 9 a.m. to noon.

The drill tests the ability of volunteer amateur radio operators to establish emergency radio communications in the event of severe infrastructure failure from a hurricane. 

Ham operators will use their radios and computers with the Winlink Global Radio Email system to send simulated messages around the islands, including Winlink hurricane reports, check-ins, check-outs, field situation reports, damage reports, request for assistance and Red Cross shelter reports.

Ham operators interested in participating are requested to pre-register at http://HawaiiARES.Net.

The statewide goal of this drill is to reinforce and test the operator’s ability to deploy stations using off-grid power (if possible), and work together to prioritize and push forward simulated reports and messages.

As the simulated hurricane impacts each island, electrical power, Internet and cell phone service are assumed to fail due to catastrophic weather. 

The volunteer operators will use the Incident Command System (ICS), a standardized management tool that meets the demands of small or large emergency and non-emergency situations. It represents best practices in emergency management across the United States.

Amateur radio is not a replacement for normal communications channels (such as phone and Internet) used by public safety or governmental agencies.  It acts to serve agencies in a subordinate capacity when those channels have been destroyed or compromised, enabling  public safety agencies to focus on their primary role, maintaining critical services. 

Amateur radio also serves private agencies such as the American Red Cross and Salvation Army whose disaster relief efforts would be hampered by not being able to communicate effectively. For more information see http://HawaiiARES.Net.

There are more than 3,800 ham operators in Hawaiʻi; and more than 778,000 ham operators in the United States, Guam, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

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