Last week at FEMA HQ, I met with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), the national association for Amateur Radio. The ARRL is coming up on its Centennial Celebration next year and has been a valuable partner in emergency management through the decades.
CAPTION: Left to Right: ARRL General Counsel Christopher Imlay, W3KD; ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ; AARL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Mike Corey, W5MPC, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN; FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ; FEMA Chief Technology Officer Ted Okada, K4HNL.
For those of you that are not familiar with Amateur radio, or ham radio as it is sometimes referred, it is the use of certain radio frequencies as a hobby, to exchange non-commercial messages, as a tool for education and experimentation and for public service community activities including assisting in emergency communications.
As a radio amateur, I enjoyed talking with them about the contributions that Hams can make in times of disaster “when all else fails.”
We’re looking forward to their annual Field Day, coming up in June, where I will test my own field gear. It is a great event to encourage first responders and citizens to think about how to prepare for disasters and how to develop a plan for themselves and their communities. And perhaps it will inspire more to consider this great hobby that also has a long and legendary history of public service to the nation.
We’re grateful to our friends at ARRL and look forward to partnering with them in exercises and efforts to plan, prepare, respond and recover from future events that we may face.