Winona Amateur Radio Club -- Emergency Preparedness

Emergency Communications and the WEPNet

the Winona Area Emergency Preparedness Net

Service is a key word in the title of the group that our club and we as individuals are involved in, 'The Amateur Radio Service.' In the Amateur Radio Service (We) have a rich tradition of involvement in our nations and communities affairs during times of disaster, community projects, and celebrations.

In August of 1995 the club decided that we needed to review our emergency communications capability and to strengthen our abilities as communicators if we were to continue to be of service to our community. With the explosion of growth in the amateur radio service in the last few years, the newer hams have expressed an interest in being better prepared to communicate effectively . So building on the good foundation (experiences) laid down by the more mature members of the Winona Area Amateur Radio Service, in an attempt to upgrade our abilities, the club decided to form an Emergency Preparedness Communications committee. Most members are familiar with or participate in one of our emergency operations called SKYWARN .

With the advent of new technologies new threats to our communities appear on the horizon every day. Hazardous materials such as chemicals and radioactive materials are used in or pass through our community frequently. We need to be prepared to meet the challenge of doing our part (communicating) should a emergency involving these materials, a national emergency, or natural disaster arise.

An established network of communications and disciplined communication practices are vital to the continued well being of our community. We have decided to face the challenges before us by honing our abilities as communicators. By learning new methods of communicating, such as packet and other digital methods, and practicing proven methods of ham radio operation, we will continually upgrade our ability as hams. Learning to cooperate with one another in the amateur service, and with professional service groups such as the law enforcement and fire services will enable us to serve our community into the future.

Currently we are holding a net called the Winona Area Emergency Preparedness Net to learn the art of disciplined and effective communications. Newer hams are learning how to operate as a net control station. We are reviewing established procedures and criteria used to call up emergency nets. And we are trying to educate ourselves not just in communications practices but also in varied aspects of emergency preparedness. Learning to cooperate and operate well together under stressful conditions is part of the training procedures we are attempting to establish at this time. Since the Amateur Radio Service is a volunteer operation we can progress only as far as we can cooperate together. Members of the Winona Amateur Radio Club as well as other amateurs from around the area are invited to participate in the nets and educational programs provided by the club. We hope to meet you on the air. 73 N0WTH

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