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q (Lynn Ellen)
The utilization of amateur radio in disaster communications /
Lynn Ellen Edwards.
[Boulder, Colo.] :
Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center, Institute of Behavioral Science, University of Colorado,
viii, 81 p. :
Working paper ;
Includes bibliographical references (p. 73-78).
Also issued online as part of a joint project with the Louis de la Parte Florida Mental Health Institute (FMHI) Research Library's disaster mental health initiative.
Emergency communication systems
z United States.
t Natural Hazards Center Collection
Working paper (University of Colorado, Boulder. Natural Hazards Research and Applications Information Center) ;
--LynnEDenEdwards HAZARD HOUSE G -< WorkiDg Paper 186liD.. Graduate School of Engineering University ofColoradoaterL l.BlClt7CYCOPY J>aNt) T Tit/(11mDisaster CommUDieatioDSNatural Hazard Research
TheUtilization ofAmateurRadioinDisasterCommunicationsLynnEllen Edwards GraduateSchoolof Engineering University of ColoradoatBoulderMay1994This publication is partofthe Natural Hazards Research & Applications Information Center's ongoing Working Paper Report Series. http://www.colorado.edu/hazardsWorkingPaper#86NaturalHazardsResearchandApplications Information Center Institute of Behavioral Science University of Colorado
The purposeofthis working paperisto explore the useofamateur radioasa providerofsupplementalcommunications for disaster relief and disaster control agencies. Amateur radio operators, or hams, are skilled communicators willing and able to volunteer their time and equipment for emergencies. They also offer their skills and additional frequencies; thus, it makes sense to plan for and include them in disaster training and preparation and to use them when disaster strikes. In Colorado, hams participate with the Mile High Chapterofthe American Red Cross and the Boulder County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (BCARES)asdisaster communications providers. Although these two groups play different roles in a disaster, both show howhamscan work together with agencies to provide more effective communications during a disaster.ii
PrefaceThis paperisoneofa series on research in progress in the fieldofhuman adjustmentstonatural hazards. The Natural Hazards Working Paper Seriesisintendedtoaid the rapid distribution of research fmdings and infonnation. Publication in the seriesisopen to all hazards researchers and does not preclude more formal publication. Indeed, reader response to a publication in this series can be used to improve papers for submission to journal or book publishers. Orders for copiesofthese papers and correspondence regarding the series should be directed to the Natural Hazards Center at the address below. A standing subscription to the Working Paper seriesisavailable. Papers cost $3.00 per copy on a subscription basis, or $4.50 per copywhen ordered singly. Copies sent beyond North American cost an additional; $1.00. The Natural Hazards Research and Applications Infonnation Center InstituteofBehavioral Science #6 Campus Box 482 UniversityofColoradoatBoulder Boulder, CO 80309-0482 (303) 492-6819iii
ListofFigures ListofTablesTable of Contents........................................................................................................viii viiiCHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1 Purpose .......................................................1 Scope 3 Summary 3 CHAPTER 2 DISASTERS ......................................................5 Their Existence 5 Their Scope 5 Geographical ....................................................5 Financial 6 Their Increasing Potential ............................................6 CHAPTER 3 DISASTERS AND THE NEED FOR COMMUNICATIONS ........................9 The Need For Communications 9 Disaster Management .............................................."10Disaster Control Services11Public Service11Forecasting and Diagnostic Services11Transportation Companies and Agencies "12Public Utilities ..................................................12Disaster Relief Services12The Public13Financial Services ................................................13Commercial Services ..............................................14Special Networks14TypesofCommunications. ............................................15On-site communications15Intra-agency communications .........................................15Inter-agency communications .........................................16Coordination ...................................................16DefinitionofDisaster Communications. ....................................16CHAPTER 4 PROVIDING COMMUNICATIONS "18ModesofCommunications18Voice18Record.......................................................18v
MeansofCommunications 20 Issues Involved21Personnel ..................................................."21Technological,.............................22 Regulatory 22 Policy 22 Financial 22 CHAPTER5PRIMARY DISASTER SERVICES COMMUNICAnONSSYSTEMS 25 The Mile High Chapterofthe American Red Cross ..........................." 25 The Washington,D.C.Metro American Red Cross Chapters "26The Boulder Regional Communications Center ................................27CHAPTER6SUPPLEMENTARY COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS 29 The Cellular Phone System .........................................." 29 Introduction 29 Drawbacks31Commercial Satellite Systems ...........................................32 Current Systems .................................................32 Proposed 33 CHAPTER7AMATEUR RADIO 35 Introduction 35 Provisions .......................................................36Personnel .....................................................37Technological42Spectrum42Systems ......................................................42Voice Communications ...........................................42Data Communications...................................:.......42Image Communications44Radio Communication Links ....46Equipment48Regulatory 50 Policy54Financial55CASE STUDIES The Mile High Chapterofthe American Red Cross .............................55Provisions .....................................................56Summary56Metro D.C. Chaptersofthe American Red Cross ..............................57Provisions .....................................................57Summary57BCARES58vi
Provisions .....................................................59 Summary 64 CHAPTER 8 ANALYSIS .....................................................,65Issues65Personnel'"..................................................65Technological Issues 66 Regulatory Issues ................................................67 Policy Issues ...................................................67 Financial Issues 68 Applicability to Disaster Communications ...................................68 Proposal ........................................................69 Summary 70 SOURCESCONSULTED.............................................73APPENDIX A MEMOOFUNDERSTANDING BETWEEN BCARES&BRCC ....................79vii
Listof FiguresFIGURE6.1 Cellular Structure ..............................................30 6.2 Mobile Service Interconnection. .....................................30 6.3 Basic Satellite Interconnectivity337.1 U.S. Amateur Frequency Allocations. .................................40 7.2 A Typical Packet Radio Station 43 7.3 A Typical Amateur TV Station ......................................45 7.4 The Five PrinciplesofAmateur Radio.................................51List of TablesTABLE7.1 Amateur Radio Operator Licenses ....................................39 7.2 Satellites in Public Service Communications. .............................47viii
CHAPTER1INTRODUCTIONPurposeThe Boulder Valley School District security division received a phone call stating that three bombs had been placed in Nevin Platt MiddleSchool-onelocated in the boy's locker room and two near the metal shop. Shortly after the call, an explosion shook the locker room. There were approximately25to30people in the school. Many were injured by the explosion, which also created fIre and smoke. School security notifIed the Boulder Regional Communications Center at the same time school neighbors called911to report the explosion. Communications dispatched Cherryvale Fire Protection District, AMR Ambulance, the Boulder County Sheriffs Department, the Boulder County Bomb Squad, and Emergency Services. Arriving units reported broken windows, smoke, and mass casualties in the school. They established command and requested additional resources. Responders determined two remaining explosive devices near the metal shop did not detonate.Inaddition, mostofthe injured were located in the boy's locker room, gymnasium, and classrooms in the centerofthe building.1
2Law enforcement personnel secured the area, located the two bombs, and began to defuse them. Firefighters, using rescue dogs, patiently searched the building for fires and took measures to evacuate smoke from the building. Victims were transported by ground and air ambulance to Boulder Community and A vista hospitals. Command provided incident information to the community. Victim's advocates and the Red Cross consulted with parents and citizens responding to the scene. Information on patient status was obtained from those treated and released at the scene and from hospitals. In addition, an alternate Emergency Operations Center (EOC) was established on site to provide resources and take calls concerning the injured. Once the incident was over, a debriefmg was held to evaluate response, command, and management.IFortunately, the above events describe the scenario for the Simulated Emergency Test (SET) held on Saturday, November 20, 1993. It could have been a wildfire or flash flood training exercise, and it could have easily been a real emergency. The purposeofthis thesisisto explore the useofamateur radioasa providerofsupplemental communications for disaster relief and disaster control agencies. This discussion covers all relevant aspects, including the parametersofdisaster communications, important issues, and communication providers, including amateur radio operators. The paper concludes with a proposal for incorporating amateur radio into the communications strategy for disasters.1.Simulated Emergency Test, Boulder, Colorado, November 20, 1993.
3Scope Emergencies and disasters can either occur suddenly, suchasin a flash flood,orgradually worsen, such as in slow rising flood waters. This study deals only with sudden onset disasters and emergencies, crises "givelittle time for warning, are relatively short in duration and require rapid reaction on the partofresponding organizations."2The primary distinction between an emergency and a disasterisoneofdegrees. In handling either, studies have shown that treating an incident as a local situation, utilizing local agencies and local resources fIrst, works best. Response and recovery are most effective when outside helpisbrought in only after local resources reach their limits.Forthis reason, this paper discusses emergencies and disasters from a local perspective. In particular, an emergencyisa situation where a city or county public safety agency decides thereisactual or imminent dangeroflossoflife and property that requires immediate action. A disasterisan intensifIed, more widespread emergency. The focus shall be on disasters because the need for communications is both more intensive and extensive in a disaster than an emergency; therefore, communications used in disasters can also be applied in emergencies.SummaryChapter 1 discusses the purpose, scope, and approachofthe paper. Chapter 2 discusses disasters, emphasizing that disasters can and do affect everyone and that their potentialisincreasing. Chapter 3 explains the need for communications following an emergencyor2. Communication When It's Needed Most,Northwestern University: The Annenberg Washington Program, 1989, p. 92.
4disaster and the categories and divisionsofcommunications necessary;itconcludes by defIning the parametersofdisaster communications for this study. Chapter 4 discusses the provisionofcommunications-both voice and record methodsaswellassome general aspectsofwireless communications. It also addresses several related issues, including personnel, technological, regulatory, policy, and fInancial aspects. Chapter 5 focuses on primary disaster services communications systems and discusses disaster relief and disaster control agencies, specifIcally those in the Boulder, Colorado, area and in the Washington, D.C.,metro area. Chapter 6 examines commercial supplemental disaster communications providers-cellular phone and commercial satellite systems. Chapter 7 explores amateur radio and its role in disaster communications. The case studies presented at the endofthe chapter show the utilizationofamateur radio in specifIc agencies. Chapter 8 analyzes the fmdingsofthe research and offers conclusions. A proposalisthen made, presenting a plan for incorporating amateur radio in the disaster agency's communications .
5 CHAFfER 2Disasters Their Existence Emergencies and disasters include earthquakes, floods, hurricanes, wildfIres, riots, search and rescue operations, landslides, bomb threats, chemical spills, nuclear radiation, and war. Some are caused by natural forces, some result from human error, and some are deliberate actsofviolence. Their Scope Geographical No place and no one on earthisfree from the threatofdisasters. Just in the last few years alone the United States has experienced Hurricane Hugo, the Lorna Prieta Earthquake, the Oakland Fire in California, Hurricane Andrewin the southeast, Hurricane lniki in Hawaii, the Los Angeles riots, the terrorist bombingofthe World Trade Center in New York, and the widespread floodingofmajor rivers in the Midwest. Closer to home, Colorado experienced the Big Thompson Canyon Flood in 1976, and in recent years Boulder County endured the Old Stage Road wildfIre, the Black Tiger wildfIre on Sugarloaf Mountain,andpotentially hazardous situations suchasthe Halloween Mall Crawl on Boulder's Pearl Street Mall and anti-war demonstrations.
6Financial Such incidents have caused great lossoflives and property. In 1992, insurance companies paid a record $23 billion in damages. This figure does not include uninsured losses; and 1993 figures, although not yet complete, indicate moreofthe same.3Increasing Potential The probabilityofdisastersisincreasing; this can be attributed to several factors, including increasing population, technological advances, and nature. The percentageofpeople in urban areasisincreasing. Today, the world populationis5.2 billion, with41%living in urban areas; predictions estimate thatbythe year 2020, 60%ofthe total populationof10billion will be urban dwellers. Duetothis increase, urban areas are encroaching onto wildlands, eitherascity limits move further beyond existing boundaries orascity dwellers increasingly move into wilderness areas for the ambianceofthe location.4Asa result, accordingtoJulie Reynolds of the National Fire Protection Association, the riskofwildfiresisincreasing.5Technologyisanother factor. Formerly, only the highly industrialized nations had the capability to engineer, manufacture, and thus, possess weaponsofmass destruction. Thisisnolonger true. Today, dangerous and deadly technologyismore readily available to anyone3. Kathi Whitley, Out ofthe Blue: What Causes Natural Disasters and HowtoPrepare for Them,"AideMagazine,August 1993, p. 10. 4. Thomas E. Drabek and GerardJ.Hoetmer, editors,EmergencyManagement:PrinciplesandPracticefor LocalGovernment,Washington, D.C.: International City Management Association, 1991, p. 63. 5. Whitley, pp. 17-18.
7with money or connections, creating a highly volatile environmentanda higher probabilityofaccidentalorintentional disaster. As well,notusing theavailable technology will continue to cause problems. For instance, failure to implement recommended construction specifications for buildings in a high risk area can result in more damage when a disaster occurs than if adequate construction standards had been used. Shelby County, Tennessee, which lies near the New Madrid Seismic Zone, provides a positive exampleofmitigation practices at the localleve1.6Byadopting a new building codeasstrictasthe one in the cityofLos Angeles, an estimated 3,078 lives and $6.9 billion in property may be saved during a major earthquake.' Industrial pollution also causes concern. In 1989, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) confinned that therewas''clear evidence that human useofchlorofluorocarbons (CFCs, freons) had significantly affected the ozone layer over the globe."8 (However, under a UN-brokered agreement called the Montreal Protocol, cooperating nations are phasing out the useofharmful CFCs. Nevertheless, increasing climate change increases the risk from severe weather, WMO predicted,9andglobal wanning will result in greater and more frequent natural disasters. Natural disasters are another, if not the greatest, concern. According to UN Disaster Relief Co-ordinator M'Hamed Essaafi,"Thetrendisquite clear. From the1960s to the6. Shelby County, Tennessee, includes the cityofMemphis andislocated along the New Madrid fault.7.RobertUtan,Fredrick Krimgold, Karen Clark, and Jayant Khadilkar,PhysicalDamageand HUlTUln Loss:TheEconomicImpactofEarthquakeMitigationMeasures,Boston: The Earthquake Project, 1992, p. 3.8.Anne-Christine d'Adesky, -Preparing the World for Disaster,"UNChronicle,June 1991, p. 43. 9. Ibid.
81980s...there has been a fivefold increase in the frequencyofgreat natural disasters, and a threefold increase in total economic losses."1010. Ibid.
9 CHAPfER 3 DISASTERS ANDTHENEEDFORCOMMUNICATIONSTheNeedForCommunications The good news is, you can prepare for catastrophes. The urgent news is, youmustprepare.IIPlanning and preparing for disasters takes time, but itistime well spent. Two key components in the process are knowing whatisneeded and planning for communications. When communicationislost, the abilitytocoordinate rescue efforts, fight fires, evacuate areas in imminent danger, and marshal relief personnelishindered.Immediately following a disaster, the abilitytodisseminate informationisessential, particularly on the scope and severityofthe damage, the numberandtypesofcasualties,andthe relief effort required. Indeed, the first 24 hours after a natural disaster are the most critical for saving lives.12Without communications, the effectivenessofthe response effortisgreatly impaired. Either responders do not know about the situation or do not know what other response measures have been taken. In the former case, nothing gets done and no aidisgiven,11.Whitley, p. 10.12.David Webster,"AnIntroduction with Four Proposals," CoTlllTWnication WhenIt'sNeededMost,Washington, D.C.: The Annenberg Washington Program, 1989, p. 5.
10resulting either in an evenbigger emergency or greater damages that could have been prevented. In the latter, confusion, chaos, duplicationofefforts, and inefficient, even wasted useofresources result.Disaster ManagementThere are four stagesofemergency management:1)preparedness,2)response,3)recovery, and4)mitigation. Because this paperisexamining the useofvarious fonnsofdisaster communications, we will only examine the first three stages. Disaster management coordinates the actions taken by all responding groups in eachofthese stagesasthey relate to the emergency phase. The first stage, before a disaster occurs, involves planning and preparation. The second stage, during a disaster, requires the immediate action by such groupsaspublic safety agencies and the Red Cross. The third stage includes activities like providing continued relief and aid, assisting with recovery, and evaluating the effectivenessofactivities undertaken in the first two stages. The groups and organizations active in anyofthe three stages are widely varied, but the) all have one common need: communications. Some of these groups include financial services, the general public, commercial institutions, disaster relief services, and disaster control services. Their specific requirements for communications may differ, but their main goals are to meet the needsofthe affected area and return to normalasquicklyaspossible.
DisasterControlServices The primary groups responding to a crisis are disaster control services, including public service agencies, forecasting services, privately and publicly funded transportation companies, and public utilities. Allofthese organizations play vital roles in responding to and assisting in recovery from catastrophic events.13Public Service The fIre department, police department, sheriff's department, emergency medical services, and similar agencies constitute the public service group. Each group needs to be able to communicate with its control site and with other groups. Responsibilities include responding to and controlling the emergency, assessing property and land damage,rescuing and reporting on casualties, requisitioning and obtaining supplies, routing traffIc, and requesting additional assistance. ForecastingandDiagnostic Services Groups that might be overlooked in their need for communications include forecasting and diagnostic services. Depending on the causeofthe emergency, meteorologists, seismologists,orexperts on the causeofthe crisis need the capability to forecast similar occurrences. Experts knowledgeable about any potential aftereffects, such as aftershocks or flash floods, also need access to communications.13.AnFeller, interviewwithauthor.11
12TransportationCompaniesandAgencies Whether an event requires an evacuationofpeople from a dangerous area, a rescue operation, or simply coordinationofthe arrival and disbursementofsupplies, those involved in transportation need the ability to communicate in order to effectively coordinate their actions. Public Utilities In almost every emergency, some areaisaffected by problems with public utilities, including phone, electric, and gas lines, and water and sewer mains. As a result, public utilities crews work around the clock to make repairs, in part to allay additional dangers suchasbroken gas lines that can cause fIres or explosions. Therefore, all repair vehiclesneed to report to their control center on damages, traffIc problems, and technical diffIculties. Disaster Relief Services Finally, adequate communicationiscritical to disaster relief services, suchasthe Red Cross, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), church groups, and any other organization that works directly with victims, assesses damage, and handles other aspects of victim assistance suchashealth and welfare inquiries (HWIs) or disaster welfare inquiries (DWIs) by the Red Cross).
13The Public Public information needs fall into three categories:1)emergency-related information; 2) health and welfare inquiries; and3)curiosity. The fIrst is crucial and includes current weather information, announcements from the mayor or other high ranking officials, and emergency instructions;itis handled with one-way communications. The second, important but usually not life-threatening, can take a lower priority. The third should be lowest priority.FinancialServices Not only must people be able to communicate with others, but machines must also be able to exchange information."Intoday's information-intensive society, itisnoexaggerationtoregard telecommunicationsasthe nation's economic life-blood.''14Threeofthe more importantgroups in this area are fmancial institutions, commercial services, and special networks suchasseismology and traffIc-control networks. Although not critical to the immediate crisis response, fmancial services and institutions need their communications links workingassoonaspossible. Frequently in an emergency, credit cards cannot be acceptedaspayment for goods, and cash becomes necessary. Therefore, banks must be able to restore commercial capital flow, whichisalso necessary for handling foreign capital inflowaswell as health and welfare donations.14.KennethL.Garret, "Statement," Subcommittee on Telecommunications and Finance Hearing on Telephone Outages, Washington, D.C., OctoberI,1991, p. 2.
14Commercial ServicesJust like every other industry and workplace, commercial services are increasingly dependent on service-oriented networks to keep their businesses in operation. These services include water purification and air traffic control systems.Special NetworksOther, miscellaneous networks can also be important in a crisis. These networks can include meteorological and seismological networks, and traffic-control, dam/flood-control, police-database, and prison-control systems.TypesofCommunicationsWhen an emergency arises, agencies establish an Emergency Operations Center (EOC), whichisthe command center for initiating major actions in response to the crisis. Centers are also established close to the disaster scene if the emergencyisgreat enough. This procedureisfollowed by the primary agencies, specifically the public safety and disaster relief agencies. Together, these two groups manage the response to the situation. The communications needs for these groups can be divided into four basic areas:1)on site-tactical communications;2)intra-agency-between disaster site(s) and the EOC;3)inter-agency-among involved agencies and the EOC; and 4) coordination among all groups,
15such as police and fIfe.ISWithin these areas, communications operate on five levels: tactical, command, logistical, support,andhealth and welfare inquiries.16On-Site Communications On-site, or tactical, communicationisthe most vital linle. Thoseatthe disaster site have the responsibility to gather accurate information concerning the amount and kindsofdamage; number, types, and namesofcasualties; and locationofdamages and casualties. The workers in the field mustbeable to maintain constant communication with those at the base site for their own and the safetyofthose they are trying to help,andto execute their dutiesasefficientlyaspossible. Intra-Agency Communications Those nearest the sceneofthe incident have the most accurate information. Itisofgreat importance that they relay this information to theEOeeffectively and efficiently. TheEOeneeds all the pieces from the disaster sites to"seethe big picture" in order to efficiently direct the response. TheEOealso needs tobeable to supply the field site(s) with such information as the arrival timeofsupplies, the progressofthe emergency (i.e.,ifthe forestfIfeismoving dangerously closetotheir position) and when shift changes occur.15. Drabek and Hoetmer,p.63.16.Feller, interview with author.
16Inter-Agency CommunicationsReports on and verificationsofdamages and casualties canbeused to anticipate the amount andtypeofsupplies that willberequired. The EOC can then contact involved agencies to request supplies and determine distribution strategies.CoordinationAsthe sizeofthe situation and numberofinvolved groups and individuals grows, coordination becomes increasingly important. A predesignated hierarchyofcontrol and management must be followed to avoid confusion and chaos. Everyone involved in the response stage, i.e., disaster relief and disaster control agencies, must be familiar with this process. There must also be a plan that explains, step by step, the correct procedures and responsibilitiesofthose involved."Tosome extent, emergency communication follows planned guidelines, but...a disaster often calls for improvisationaswell."17This coordinationiskey to successful emergency management, and communicationiskey to successful coordination.18Defmition of Disaster CommunicationsAlthough the communications used by all these groups canbetermed "disaster communications," the focusofthis paperison the typesofcommunications utilized by primary response and recovery groups, specifically, disaster control and relief agencies. In17. Drabek and Hoenner,p.63.18.Drabek and Hoenner,p.77.
17other words, the meansofcommunication and technologyorequipment usedbythese groups are partofdisaster communications.
18CHAPTER4 PROVIDING COMMUNICATIONS ModesofCommunication Communications can be categorized by two basic modes:1)voice, and 2) record communications. While voice communications can be recorded,ifthe information can be retrieved either in the original form or in exact duplication, itisconsidered record communications Voice Audio communications, such as telephone and two-way radio, rely on the voice to transmit and the ear to receive the message. These messages are usually uncomplicated, faster, and easier to authenticate pointoforigin. Most people know how to use a phone and fmd it easier and quicker to speak than to write a message. Dialogueispossible, allowing for immediate verificationofthe message. Because voice recognitionisalso possible, the individual receiving the message can immediately determine whoismaking a request or giving an order and whether the individual carries the required authority. Record Record communications are those that are placed into a recorded medium and can be subdivided into two main forms:1)image and 2) data. Image communications include videos and photographs; data communications include written forms and facsimiles.
19"Apictureisworth a thousandwords"isan old but valid sayingaswellasoneofthe advantagesofimage communications. Viewing live videoofa forest fIre makes analysis easierthanlistening to or reading written communications from someone in the fIeld. Even still shotsofthe scene can result in more accurate understandingofdamagethanwritten or voice verifIcation. Thus, a responseisoften easier, faster,andmore appropriate to the situation. Some applications include identifIcationofthe optimal spot to drop slurry during a wildfIre, confIrmationofthe sizeofan area in which an event suchaswildfIreisoccurring, and monitoringofa developing or potential problem suchasa anti-war protest. While data communications may be slower and more difficult, e.g., the time requiredto fIll out a form, they still have several advantages over voice and image communications. Thereisalways a written record verifying an orderandthe person authorizing it. Written communications contain fewer errors and more message clarity. (Thereisless chanceofbeing misunderstood than thereiswith a quick voice request). Sometimes,asin the caseofindividual and drug names, written forms can actually make receptionofandresponse to a message occur more quickly. Another major advantage to written communications, suchasfaxes,isthat neither the transmitter nor the receiver must be interrupted from their immediate task to handle the message; both can respond when events permit.Asa result, the messageisnot an intrusion that could cause further problems. Likewise, when itishandled,themessage can receive full attention, reducing the chanceoferror and misunderstanding.
20MeansofCommunicationIn a disaster where prompt responseisdemanded, the methodofcommunicatingisasimportantasthetypeofthe communication. The critical requirementsoftechnology chosen to provide communications are:1.rapid deployment to a distressed area; 2. easy setup and operation capability; 3. provisionofat least voice and data services to the Emergency Operations Center,sothat the disaster control agency or relief organization can quickly disseminate the information.19There are two basic categoriesofcommunication: wire-based and radio-based. Wirebased communications generally involve the telephone system; radio-based communications cover systems like two-way radios and satellites. Based on the three requirements, radiobased communications are the appropriate choice. "Radio has the advantagesofportability, availability, and versatility. Battery-powered radios are not susceptible to downed wires, lossofpower, damage to switching stations, or inundationofswitchboards."20For these reasons, public safety agencies and disaster relief organizations generally rely on radio communications The two primary modesofradio communications are AM (amplitude modulation) and FM (frequency modulation). AM adds information to a carrier wave by systematically altering,ormodulating, the amplitude,ofthe carrier wave. The resulting frequencies, known19. David Robert Glenn,Low Eanh Orbit Satellites for Disaster Relief Communications.Master's Thesis, University of Colorado, 1992,p.4.20.CommunicationWhenIt's Needed Most,p. 9.
21assidebands, are "symmetrically spaced aboveandbelow the carrier."21In standard AM, both sidebands are transmitted.Insingle-sideband AM (AM-SSB), only one bandistransmitted. The carrier itselfissuppressed in both cases, thus utilizing less bandwidth. FM adds information to a carrier wavebymodulating the frequencyofthe wave. Unlike AM,FMrequires the transmissionofthe carrierandis, therefore, more bandwidth intensive than AM. Its main advantages overAMare its high fidelityandits relative insusceptibilitytoelectrical noise interferences due to a high signal-to-noise ratio. Thus, FM in the VHF (very high frequency) spectrumisthe most commonly used mode in radio communications, including amateur radio, andispreferred for tactical communications.22Three typesofwireless, or radio-based, communication systems are currently in use-satellites, cellular telephones, and terrestrial two-way radios. These systems are discussed in more detail in Chapters 6and7.Issues Involved PersonnelCommunication, particularly disaster communication, involves several personnel considerations, particularly the sizeofthe workforce needed. The numberofworkers and their availability are important when dealing with volunteers. In addition, the levelofexpertiseofeach workerisassignificantastheir training in both communications operationsanddisaster planning.21. Harry Newton,Newton'sTelecomDictionary,New York: Telecom Library, Inc., 1991,p. 575. 22. Allen Mottershead, "Radio,"On-LineEncyclopedia,Denver: Colorado AllianceofResearch Libraries (CARL), 1993.
22Technological Deciding on the technology for providing communications in a disaster requires considering morethanjust the methodofdelivery. For instance, are the equipment resources required to operate the communications system available? Are the allocation and availabilityofthe spectrum sufficient? What about interoperability among systems and equipment used by different groups and agencies?"Howwell the communications system will work depends upon how it interlinks. During the Mount St. Helens operation (and in many foreign disasters), a major problem was the inabilityofdifferent systems to communicate with one another. The Washington State Police, for example, couldn't talk to the National Guard."23Regulatory Systems must follow established regulatory guidelines in order to ensure better coordination and cooperation among involved groups. The FCC governs several issues surrounding communications in the United States, including spectrum allocations, licensing, regulations on their use, and guidelines on coordinationofrelief efforts among all agencies and organizations, both public and private. Policy The two primary policy issues for disaster response agencies are1)having a current known and operable plan for each potential disaster that could affect the community, and 2)23. Communication When It's Needed Most, p,9.
having an understanding, preferably written, between an agency and each organization with which it interacts. Liability and task assignment issues must be addressed in the disaster planes), including an established chainofcommand, pointsofcontact, and detailed, procedural instructions on responding to an event. A memorandumofunderstanding (MOD)isan agreed-upon written plan detailing the interaction among the different agencies and individuals. It includes logistical concerns and legal issues relating to the commitmentsofeach party, such as: assigned equipment use for each task, insurance, responsibility for maintaining operabilityofthe systems, and command and authority. Internal policyis"thestructure and missionofthe...organization, i.e., howisthe... agency structured to obtain and disseminate information.''24External policy canbedefmedas"thepolitical will to coordinate."25FinancialCost-effectiveness is always anissue-andusually oneofthe greatest concerns. Developersofhigh-tech emergency communications systems must keep in mind the costofequipment and the time required to get it in place. Especially, those relief agencies that depend on public contributions must pay attention to cost-effectiveness.If,for example, it takes 24 hours-including truck or helicopter transportation-to get a satelliteuplink into place and set up,isthe uplink's cost justified? This questionis24. Glenn,p.5. 25. CommunicationWhenIt's Needed Most,p.21.23
24critical, especiallyifless sophisticated systems could handle the immediate emergency.26 The costsofequipment purchase, maintenance, upgrade, and operation should be considered. Personnel costs, including set up and operation, must also be calculatedaswellasmiscellaneous expenses suchasthe costoftransporting equipment and the time required to set up and operate the system. To be viable, the communications system, including skilled personnel, must be affordable.26. COTTll7lUnication WhenIt'sNeededMost,p,19.
25 CHAPI'ER 5 PRIMARY DISASTER SERVICES COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS The most obvious meansofcommunication in a disasteristhe primary system owned bythedisaster management agency. This chapter will discuss the Mile High Chapter and the Washington, D. C., metro area Chaptersofthe American Red Cross and the Boulder (Colorado) Regional Communications Center (BRCC).TheMile HighChapterofthe American Red Cross The Mile High Chapter has 80 paid staffand3,000 volunteers. The chapterisresponsible for providing services to two million people in seven counties, including Boulder County. The communications system ownedbythe chapter has two parts:1)an FM mobile radio system, and 2) cellular phonesY With eight cellular phones, a maximumofeight simultaneous phone conversations can take place. In Boulder, the cellular phones are the only equipment that are funded, although costisstill an issue. While useful for small-scale emergencies, cellular can quickly become inoperableina larger-scale disaster. These and other limitationsofthe cellular phone system are discussed in Chapter 6. The FM system consistsofa radio in each Red Cross vehicle and one in eachofthe six branch offices. Each radio has two channels, which are assigned by the FCC on a national27. Since pagers are incapableoftwo-way communications and require an additional lineofcommunication, they are not includedinthis discussion.
26level and are restrictedtoRed Cross use. Although both are availabletothe Red Crossina disaster, one channelisfor general use, e.g., dispatch communications, and the otherisexclusively for disaster communications. A maximumoftwo radio conversations can take place at any given time, and the chapter hasnodata communications capabilities on this system. Also, the radios are mobile but not portable-theydonot leave the vehicle. This restricts communications only to places reachablebyvehicle. Also,nointeroperabilityofthissystem currently exists with other agencies, suchaspolice and fire, on the assignedfrequencies. Such communications must occur via cellular, if itisavailable, or some other system.The Washington, D.C., Metropolitan American Red Cross ChaptersSeveral chapters cover the metropolitan Washington, D.C., area and have varying numbersofstaff and volunteers. For example, the Arlington Chapter hasnopaid staff and16volunteers. The National Capitol Chapter has63paid staff and72emergency services volunteers. The communications systemsinmetro Washington are much the sameasthose usedbythe Mile High Chapter in Denver. The Arlington Chapter has an FM radio system with four mobile units and two hand-held units. The FM radio system used by the National Capitol Chapter has eight mobile radios.
27TheBoulder Regional CommunicationsCenterThe Boulder Regional Communications Center (BRCC) coordinates communications among the police, sheriff, and fIre departments. The BRCC provides communications for 45 different public safety agencies;ofthese, approximately 30 are volunteer groups. The center handles all911emergency calls made in Boulder County except for the cityofLongmont and the UniversityofColorado at Boulder, bothofwhich have their own public safety departments. The BRCC has several voice communication options, including a VHF FM two-way radio systemaswellascellular and Improved Mobile Telephone Service (IMTS) phones. The two-way radio system includes mobile and portable radios that operate on four assigned frequencies for primary law enforcement communications and four frequencies for fIre communications; they also have access to other frequenciesifnecessary. IMTSisa commercial VHF wireless phone system, whichisa predecessor to today's cellular system. Although lacking the high fIdelityofcellular, it provides better extended coverage in mountainous regions.28Allofthese systems offer voice communications only. The sole data communications option is a single portable facsimile machine thatisdependent upon the operational statusofboth the cellular and wireline phone systems. The BRCC also employs a mobile communications van, which carries the IMTS mobile phone, cellular phones, and two-way voice radio. Additional equipment in the vanisowned and operated by BCARES (Boulder County Amateur Radio EmergencyService)-theamateur28. Don Schaffer, interview with author.
28radio group that assists with emergency communications-and includes a TV receiver and packet and voice stations.
29CHAPTER 6 SUPPLEMENTARY COMMERCIAL COMMUNICATIONS SYSTEMS The Cellular Phone System Introduction Cellular has been in existence since the early 1980sandisgrowing in popularity. The technologyiseasy to use and available in nearly all metropolitan areas. Cellular phones are available in three forms: mobile, portable, or transportable. Mobile phones operate from within a car while portable phonescan be hand-carried.Transportable phones are a hybridofmobile and portable phones. In each case,"thepowerandrangeofthe unit are inversely proportionaltothe portability.''29A Cellular Geographical Service Area (CGSA)isconstructedasa gridof"cells."Each cell has a base station that can handle approximately 96 phones.3oA cellular phone establishes a two-way radio link with the base station; the base station connectsitto the Mobile Telephone Switching Office (MTSO). The MTSO "controls call signaling and processing, and coordinates the hand-overofthe mobile connection from one base stationtoanotherasthe mobile roams around."31The MTSO then connects the call into the Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) ortoanother cellular phone. Figure6-1diagrams the29. Daniel Briere, "Cellular Service Options Merit Close User Scrutiny,"NetworkWorld,(January IS, 1991):1.30.Richard Chandler,Cellular and WirelessCommunications,Class lecture, June 25, 1992.31.Moe Rahnema, OverviewoftheGSMSystem and Protocol Architecture,"IEEECommunicationsMagazine,31(April 1993):93.
30general structureofa cellular system. Figure 6-2 showsthe various points at which the MTSO can gain access into the PSTN. /' .----PSTN --/' .. -.,/ ./Figure6-132Cellular Structure Figure6-233Mobile Service Interconnection3432. George Calhoun,Digital Cellular Radio,Norwood, MA: Artech House, 1988, p. 99. 33. "BOC Notes on LEC Networks 1990: Mobile Services Interconnection,"Bellcore.SR-TSV-002275, Issue 1 (March 1991):16-4. 34. IXC: Interexchange Carrier, suchasAT&T, Sprint,andMCI.
31At fIrst glance, cellular seems an ideal communications system for disaster situations. However, upon closer examination, several technical and fmanciaI problems present themselves.DrawbacksCellular functions as a wireless link into the public switched telephone system. While this can allow remote access into the phone system, itisdependent upon the conditionofthe wireline system.Ifthe system is either damaged by the disaster or overloaded with calls from the public in response to an event, a mobile phone cannot provide access. The cellular phone system can operate without the wireline system. However, there are substantial limits to its usability. When links are made between two mobile units, each unit occupies a channelofthe two-way link, thus occupying two available channels.Ifall conversations are mobile to mobile, the system capacityisreduced byhalf-bothan inefficient useofspectrum and very impractical. The limited coverageofthe cellular phone systemisanother drawback. While cell sites are increasing in number, coverageisstill limited. Not only does blanket coverage not exist across the entire country, but cellular coverageisalso limited even within areas where service is provided. A Cellular Geographical Service Area (CGSA) does not necessarily cover 100%ofthe FCC-defmed market boundaries.35There is no guarantee that a disaster will only strike in a location that has cellular coverage.35. Chandler. Class notes, June 25, 1992.
32Making a call from a cellular phone costs more than a call from a wire line phone. The 'Occasional" CellularOne package offered in Colorado costs $40 per month and includes 50 minutesofusage. The chargefor each additional minuteis 49C during peak calling times and 25C during off-peak times.36Commercial Satellite SystemsCurrentSystemsCommercial satellite systems are considered by some to be the solution to communications needs, including disaster communications. Satellites allow communications to bypass the local phone system completely. (See Figure 6-3 for the basic structureofa satellite system.) Most current systems are either very small aperture terminal (V SAT)orInrnarsat. VSATs have been in existence since the mid-1980s, are widely used, and are capableofvoice, data, and video communications. They also have transportable remote terminals that make transportation and setup relatively easy.37However, the time required to transport and setup the systemisa disadvantage,asisthe costofthe system, which requires a terminal and hub, and payment for access charges.38Inrnarsat is also capableofvoice, data, and video communicationsaswellasfacsimile transmission and electronic mail.39It also provides transportable terminal stations andis36. CellularOne price listing. Colorado. October 1993. 37. Glenn. p. 51. 38. Glenn. p. 54. 39. Glenn. p. 55.
33globally available. Access charges have dropped from $lO/minute to $6.50/minute since 1979.40However, as with VSATs, the main drawback lies in the time required to deploy a terminal station.41EarthStationFigure6_342Basic Satellite Interconnectivity ProposedThe satellitesofthese two systems are in geosynchronous orbit, that is, traveling at the same speedasthe earth's rotation and therefore remaining in the same position relative to the earth. Systems using a LowEarthOrbit (LEO) are currently under consideration. These40. Glenn, p. 56.41.Glenn, p. 57. 42. StevenW.Sweeney and FrankS.Zimmerman, Satellite Communications Disaster Recovery,"Telecommunications22(February 1988):88.
34LEOs have the advantagesofrequiring lower transmitter power and possessing a smaller mobile unit antenna due to the satellites' closer proximity to earth,43bothofwhich contribute to the developmentofsmaller hand-held units.44While these satellite systems do have technical potential, several regulatory and fmancial issues must be addressed before implementation. The major players in the developmentofthese LEO systems include Motorola's Iridium, Loral/Qualcomm's GlobalStar, Ellipsat's Ellipso, TRW's Odyssey, and Constellation Communications' Aries.45There is no denying the potential of LEO satellite systemsasdisaster communications providers. "These systems will provide instantaneous, global voice and data services in a small, easily transported unit, allowing rescue and relief workers access to needed information anywhere in the world."46However, these systems are years away and none has received approval and licensing from the Federal Communications Commission.4743. Glenn, p. 7.44.Glenn. p.8.45.Ibid. 46. Glenn. p. 107. 47. For more specific information on commercial LowEarthOrbit satellites systems, see Glenn, David Robert.LowEanhOrbit Satellites for Disaster Relief Communications.Master's Thesis, UniversityofColorado, 1992.
35 CHAYfER 7AMATEURRADIOIntroductionAmateur radio is the hobbyof"amateurs" or"hams."Amateur radio operators are licensed individuals involved in all aspectsofradio communications, including "self-training, intercommunication and technical investigations," but who receive no monetary compensation.48Someoftheir activities include"DXing,"or communicating with people across long distances; experimenting with the latest radio and communications technologies, suchassatellites and amateur television (ATV); building their own equipment; and inventing new techniques and technologies, suchasmoonbounce, which bounces a radio signal off the moon. In addition, many hams are dedicated to public service. "Public service has been a ham tradition since the very beginning."49Hams all across the country and around the world are always quick to respond when an opportunity to provide assistance arises, suchasfor a community-sponsored marathon or bike race, a hospital experiencing a communication48.JimKearman, et aI., editors,NowYou'reTalking!DiscovertheWorldofHam Radio, Newington, Connecticut: American Radio Relay League, 1991, pp. 2-4. 49. Kearrnan, pp. 1-6.
36system failure, a motor-vehicle accident, severe-weather spotting, a flood, a hurricane, or a fIre. Inaddition, hams provided assistance in response to the: Mexico Cityearthquake,September 1985: Amateur radio communications were the only link in some locations, particularly rural areas.50HurricaneHugo, September 1989: "Through volunteer amateur radio networks, shipmentsofrelief and medical supplies were coordinated...Amateur radio 'jump teams' even sped to the affected areastohelp restore communications."51 LomaPrietaearthquake, October 1989: Hams handled health and welfare inquiries about victims.52OldStage Road Fire, October 1990: Hams, with amateur television capability, transmitted live videoofthis wildfIre in Boulder County to the communications center.53 Texas Flood, December 1991: Amateur radio operators provided personal equipment to coordinate communications between the responding agencies.54Provisions There are many components to successful disaster communications, allofwhich fall into the fIve basic categoriesofissues discussed in Chapter 4:1.personnel, 2. technological, 3.regulatory, 4. policy, and 5. fInancial.50. Ibid. 51. Ibid. 52. Juanita Lewis, interview with author. 53. BCARES ATV videoofrecent events. 54. O. Wolf and J. Wolf, "Radio Amateurs HelpinTexas Flood Relief," QST, LXXVI, 4 (April 1992):79.
37Amateur radio, recognized by many disaster organizations for providing communications in disasters, readily lends itself to service for severalreasons.PersonnelOperators should possess skills in basic radio communications and operationsaswellasdisaster communications and operations, availability, and other issues that are volunteer related. In most cases, amateur radio operators are well qualified to handle disaster communications: they are skilled in communicating, operating radios, and working with equipment, and are also often skilled in disaster communications. In addition, they can be found in every regionofthe country. Most hams know how to relay messages succinctly, accurately, and in a timely manner. 'Amateur radio operators recognize their responsibility to provide these public service communications. They train in various ways tobeeffective communicators in timesoftrouble."55They gain this training through personal experience, from other hams, in group activities and contests designed to test their operating skills and ingenuity, and through practice exercises dealing with emergency communications. This fieldofinterest covers more than just operating a radio. All hams have a license assigned by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to operate. In order to obtain a license, an applicant must demonstrate basic knowledge in several areas, including regulation, radio theory, electrical components and circuits, antennas, and operating information. There are five classesofamateur operating licenses: novice, technician, general,55.Kearman. p.1-5.
38advanced, and amateur extra. The requirements and privileges associated with each are shown in Table7-1and Figure 7-1. There are two options to become a licensed amateur radio operator. The fIrst optionistobecome a novicebypassing a written exam and code test. The exam covers basic radio theory and regulations; thecode test requires correctly receiving/transcribing a transmissionofMorse code at a rateoffive words per minute. The secondisto obtain a "technician-no code" license, which requires passing two written exams, but no code test. The first examisthe sameasthe one for the novice license. The second, more comprehensive, exam covers radio theory and regulations in more detail.
Table 7-156 AMATEUR RADIO OPERATOR LICENSESClassCodeTestWrittenExaminationPrivilegesNovice 5WPM Novice theory and regulations Telegraphy on 3675-3725, 7100-7150 (Element 1A) (Element 2)* and 21,100-21,200IcHzwith 200 watts PEP outputmaximum; telegraphy, RTTY anddataon 28,100-28,300IcHzand telegraphy andSSBvoice on 28,300-28,500IcHzwith 200 W PEP max; all amateur modes authorized on 222.1-223.91 MHz,25W PEP max;allamateur modes authorized on 1270-1295 MHz, 5W PEP max.Technician Novice theory and regulations; All amateur privileges above50.0MHz. Technician-level theory and regulations. Technician-elass licensees who have passed a (Elements 2 and 3A)*'" 5-WPM code test also haveHFNovice privileges.General13WPM Novice theory and regulations; Technician All amateur privileges except those reserved (Element lB)andGeneral theoryandregulations. for Advanced and Advanced Extra class; see (Elements 2, 3A, and3B) Table 7-2. Advanced13WPM All lower exam elements, plus Advanced All amateur privileges except those reserved (Element IB) theory. for Advanced Extra class; see Table 7-2. (Elements 2, 3A, 3B,and4A)Amateur20 WPM All lower exam elements, plus Extra-elass All amateur privileges.Extra(Element 1 C) theory. (Elements 2, 3A, 3B, 4Aand4B) A licensed radio amateur will be required to pass only those elements that are not includedinthe examination for the amateur license currently held. ** Ifan operator holds a valid technician class license issued before March 21, 1987, heorshe also has credit for Element 3B, but must be able to prove the technician license was issued before March 21, 1987.56. Kearman, pp. 2-7, 2-8.39
40usBANDS-KEY- .cw._... =.CW_SS8 .CW.IITTY__... a.CW.IITTY __ C3.CW.IITTY._ICW ............ AMATEUR .'\C,TE.A.G...Ok .. ZMETERS 'METERS1ZIIETERS." .. ".IUIIl...,.... 10METERS.. "" ..........E.A.G........................,. 160 METERS E.A.G --.... 80 METERS .......-.........G .".-....40 METERS ,..,,.,........G"" .-E-,.,-....c::J.cw." soMETERS ''''111D1SJE.A.G.......'.,..1.25 METERSm.,H E.A.G. T ....Ok E .....lEI.'lEX!'" AIl'INCEOG.GeE.....H.IO/U 20 METERS ...,.fCl'IIIGI"aIIDacffftOC*W\hitIID-.g....-o-2'a:JO'310"t-tl28ld:l1it1lDXIBI)t.t-1:l'KID'tCI!lGtv14.11.:M"Gt1r4ta.1GHr"'t1aQlir , JIUCtVlC.QtJM __ XI)GI't_nCssrtrr. H E.A.G. T Ok -1110 23 CENTIMETERS33CENTIMETERS70CENTIMETERS, ...... TG E.A.GG".-...."'"'4.150 17 METERS 1SMETERS 21,0lIl .. jill.. Figure7-157U.S. Amateur Frequency Allocations57.Kearman.pp. 2-7,2-8.
41Because thisistheir hobby, hams tendtospend time improving their skills. Also, since many enjoy experimenting withandeven building their own equipment, they are usually quite adept at identifying and fIxing problems. Although the licensing procedureisstandardized, the term"ham"does not guarantee skill level. Amateur radio allows for many diverse interests; thus, different hams are experienced in different areas. Also,aswith most areas, those new to amateur radio or not very active in it are not as experiencedasthose who have dedicated many hourstotheir hobby. Having individuals skilled in different areas can be benefIcial, but variabilityinqualityofskills can also present problems, particularly for a responding agency.Ifthose requiring communications assistance are not familiar with the hams in their area, they can make inaccurate assumptions about what services hams are abletoprovide. There are an estimated 600,000 ham operators in the United States. Therefore, a communicator can be on the sceneofan emergency in a relatively short periodoftime. They often provide long-term supportaswell. However, hams are volunteers. In several cases, the opportunity to beofpublic service influences many to become hams. On the other hand, they are not paid and are therefore not requiredtobepresent. Consequently, itisdiffIcult to count on specifIc numbersofvolunteersina crisis. Also, ham radio support can be difficult if many of the operators are personally affectedbythe crisis.InEllicot City, Maryland, the Howard County OfficeofCivil Defense arranged beforehand for local hams to assist in an emergency. However, when Hurricane Agnes struck in 1972, none were available because they were dealing with their own emergencies.5858.AnFeller. interview with author.
42Technological There are several aspectsofamateur radio technology that make it ideal for emergency communications, including frequency availability; equipment interoperability, portability, and availability; voice, data, and video transmission capability; and satellite as well as terrestrial communication link availability.SpectrumFrequencies are the"wires"orconduits for wireless communications. Because the spectrumis fInite, frequency allocationisan important issue. The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) allocates spectrum on an international basis. The FCC then makes national assignments. Both groups recognize the importanceofamateurradio-amajor reason amateur radio still has its spectrum allotments. The frequency bands presently allocated for amateur radio span the spectrum, including HF, VHF, and UHF. These frequency bands are summarized in Table 7-2. Using thesechannels greatly increases the numberoffrequencies available for communications, and thus, increases communications capability by decreasing the overloadingofthe agencies' channels. SystemsVoicecommunications.The most popular methodofdisaster communicationsisvoice.Itismore practical, easier, and faster in many casesthanrecord communications. However, voice-only communications are often not the bestormost efficient. As described in Chapter 4, the optimal disaster communications system includes data and image capabilities as well as voice. Most
43agencies have only voice capabilities for disaster communications, but amateur radio can, in addition to voice, provide data and video and images.Data communications.Thereisa growing movement to switch from analog to digital transmissions. With analog transmissions, noise and distortion accumulate and increase as distance and the numberofamplifiers and relays increase. This does not occur with digital transmissions because digital signals are regenerated, not just repeated, at each link. The obvious advantageofthis technologyisdata communication, transmitted by packet radio, which can offer many benefits to disaster communications. Itiscapableofvery fast, error-free transmissionoflarge amountsofdata, facilitating the generationofmessages in hardcopy form. It makes efficient useofthe spectrum and even works under noisy conditions. The typical setup for this wireless communications system includes a computer (or dumb terminal and keyboard), a transceiver (radio), and a terminal node controller (TNC) (see Figure 7-2).ANTENNACOMPUTERSYSTEMFEED.L1NETRANSCEIVERFigure7_259A Typical Packet Radio Station59. Kearman. p. 5-5.
44The TNC interfaces between the computer and the radio and acts, in essence, as an intelligent modem because it breaks the data from the computer into small portions and adds address, error-checking, and control information to each portion, thus creating packets. These packets are then transmitted to another computer. Packet stations can establish a direct connection with each other, or many stations can connect into a bulletin board system. When more than two stations are involved in communications operations, a bulletin board systemisthe best option. Using the direct connect method requires connecting and disconnecting every time a message needstobe sent. The useofa bulletin board system eliminates this need, allowing each stationtosend a message toanyother connected station. Packet radio can also transmit messages over long distancesbylinking together multiple stations or bulletin boards. Amateurs are presently working toward the developmentofa global packet network using this method.60Image communications.In this global network, image, data, and voice communications are under development. Yet, image communications capability already exists in amateur radio. Presently, hams are active withthree different image systems:1)Fast-scan television(PSTV):moving pictures are displayed on a standard TV set,andsoundisincluded. Its performanceissimilar to commercial broadcast TV picturesandisused predominately in the UHF bands (70 and23cm)toprovide local area coverage. Thisisalso knownasATV, or amateur TV. (See Figure 7-3 for the basic setup.)2) Slow-scan television (SSTV):low-resolution still pictures are displayed on a standard TV set. Used in the HF bands, it provides worldwide coverage.60. Kirk A. Kleinschmidt, ed.,The ARRL Handbook/or the Radio Amateur,Newington, Connecticut: American Radio Relay League, 1990, pp. 19-23.
453)Facsimile (fax):A high-resolution still picture produced on paper or photographic film is used for weather-satellite reception and in theHFbands to provide worldwide coverage.61TVCameraTVoTransceiver 70cm Power SupplyFigure7_362ATypicalAmateur TV Station Video compressionisa major component in the developmentofhigh quality video transmissions. Broadcast-quality video requires a minimum bit rateof10 Mbps. In comparison, high-quality stereo sound only requires 1.4 Mbps. With the limited availabilityofspectrum, these data requirements illustrate the need for video compression.61. Kleinschmidt, p. 20-1.62.Ralph E. Taggert, "An IntroductiontoAmateur Television: Part2-TheBasicATVStation,"QST.LXXVll, 5(May1993):43.
46There are several algorithms being developed for achieving acceptable levelsofvideo data compression, with their compression ratios ranging from 20: 1 to 100:1.63Becauseofthe work currently underway in this field, the capability for improved video communications is increasing.RadioCommunicationLinksTwo typesofwireless links exist: terrestrial and satellite. Terrestrial links are point-topoint communications, possibly through a repeater. A satellite link is between two earthbound transceivers through a satellite. Most amateur communications are through terrestrial links becauseoftheir availability, simplicity, and applicability. The numberofham radios that can communicate via terrestrial links far exceeds that for amateur satellite communications. Also, the repeaters and radios are,for the most part, stationary and readily available; satellites, by nature, are not. Communicating via a terrestrial linkismuch simpler than communicating via satellite. With satellites, the operator must point the receiving antenna in the correct direction; use the proper monitoring frequency;insure that sufficient receiving powerisavailable; and operate at the proper time in order to be effective. However, amateur radio enthusiasts enjoy a challenge, and many are partofAmSat, the Amateur Radio Satellites Corporation. Several satellites knownasOSCARs (Orbiting Satellite Carrying Amateur Radio) are in orbit. Nevertheless, many hams familiar with this technology will be quick to say that satellites63. Peng H. Ang, PeterA.Ruetz, and David Auld, Video Compression MakesBigGains,"IEEESpectrum28,10(October 1991):16-17.
47have no place in emergency communications becauseoftheir limited availability and operational difficulties. The only viable application for OSCARs in emergenciesisin data communications.Asa store-and-forward system, satellites can be usedaspartofa worldwide message-handling network, where messages from one location are transmitted to satellite, and then from there to another location when it comes into range. This system can be used for health and welfare inquiries (HWls) and other nonessential communications, but is not feasible for real-time communications. A summaryofthe pros and consofsatellites for emergency communications is shown in Table 7-2. Table 7-264Satellites in Public Service CommunicationsItemAdvantage DisadvantageAvailabilityIfthe birdisvisible, it's Must be in operating usable mode compatible with Not affected by earth stations propagation conditions Emergency power Satellites are always on Limited by levelof"emergency power" activity and solar (battery operation) charging windows Emergency net linking Alternate to terrestrial Requires available repeater links satellite station and gateway in affected areas Signallevels/qualityofLink-signal in excessofLow elevation angles to communication links!OeiBeasily achieved with satellite can degradeSINcurrent technology64. Bill Burden, -Amateur Satellites as a Resource for Public Service Communications,"QSTLXXVI, 4 (April 1992):78.
48Nevertheless,aswith many rules, there are exceptions. In New Hampshire, for example, due to the terrain, terrestrial links cannot be made between two emergency netsandthus satellites are being tested.Byusing a satelliteasa gateway between the Nashua Area Radio Club (NARC) emergency net and the New Hampshire OfficeofEmergency Management in Concord, messages can be relayed between the two locationsandthe repeaters can remain available for tactical communications.65EquipmentOneofthe major advantagesofamateur radio equipmentisits portability. While the majorityofhams have "shacks" with stationary systems, the majority also have portable or mobile equipment, which can include all the electronics components necessary to have an operable communications station. The basic voice station consistsofa transceiverandan antenna. A packet station has, in addition, a computer and a terminal node controller. (See Figure 7-2.) Componentsofan ATV station include a transmitter, video camera, antenna, and receiver (see Figure 7-3.) A repeater canbeincludedaspartofanyofthese systems.Allofthese components can be taken to and operated from almost anywhere. A power supplyisrequired for any electronic equipmenttooperate (eitherACor DC). Most ham equipmentiscapableofrunning off basic, or alternating, current (AC)of120 volts. However, ham radio was developed to be portable, and itisstandard proceduretopower a station with an alternate power source. Therefore, most hams know how to power65. Burden, pp. 78-79.
49their equipment from a car battery, gel battery, generator, or other DC power supply, suchaswindmills or solar panels. Amateur radio also offers equipment thatisinteroperable, that is, works on various frequencies. Each disaster control and relief agency has its own assigned frequencies and equipment, and there is a wider rangeoffrequencies allocated for amateur radio. Additionally, both data and voice communications are interoperable. Regardlessofthe usefulnessofthe communication equipment, to beofany valueitmust be available when and where needed. Amateur radio communications systems are readily available almost anywhere, particularly in North America. Every ham, with very few exceptions, owns and operates a portable two-way radio, also called an HT ("handi-talkie") that operates on VHF FM. Thereisalso an abundanceofrepeaters, which facilitate betterandlonger distance communications and are capableofpatching into the phone system. There are 118 two-meter (144-148 Mhz VHF FM) repeaters in Colorado, with seven in Boulder County and 28 in DenverCounty.66Potential problems include lackofsystems capabilities in a given area, lackofcoverage,andfewer hams than necessary to achieve a viable communications system. Lackofsystems capabilities occurswhen not all the available amateur radio systems are in use by hams in a givenlocale.Ifthe area government sees a need for an unavailable system, then its procurement becomes a policy issue regarding funding, maintenance, operation, etc. Lackofcoverage can result from several things. WithHFcommunications, atmospheric conditions may make reliable communications impossible. However, this is not the case with66. ARRL Repeater Directory,1993-94, pp. 112-115.
50VHF FM, the primary modeofcommunications. With this method, problems are more likely to result from either not enough repeaters and transceivers in a given area to provide adequate coverage (i.e., a limited numberofhams in the area), or the geographical characteristicsofthe area could inhibit direct line-of-sight communications, suchasin a mountainous region. This problem may be solved by placing repeaters in locations high enough to provide coverage or using other typesofcommunications systems.Asmentioned earlier, local amateurs in New Hampshire turned to satellite technology.67Regulatory In 1901, Guglielmo Marconi listened to a wireless transmissionofMorse code across the Atlantic-the productofyearsofexperimentation.Asa result, many electrical hobbyists attempted to duplicate his feat, building their own wireless equipment and experimenting with wireless communications. They became the fIrst hams. Widespread interest in this wireless, or radio, communications technique, brought about in 1927 the creationofthe Federal Radio CommissionbyCongress to "unravel the confusion and assign specifIc frequencies for specifIc uses."68Realizing the potentialofamateurs, they assigned several frequency bands specifIcally to amateur radio. The Federal Communications Actof1934 established the Federal Communications Commission (FCC)asthe successor to the Federal Radio Commission.69The FCC, in recognitionofamateur67. Burden, pp. 78-79. 68. Kearrnan, pp. 1-5. 69. M.D. Paglin, ed., -A Legislative Historyofthe Communications Actof1934,"On-LineEncyclopedia,Denver: Colorado AllianceofResearch Libraries (CARL), 1990.
51radio, directly addresses amateur service in Part 97ofits Rules. In Section 97.1, the purposeofamateur service is summarized in five principles, listed in Figure 7-4.Figure7-4TheFive Principles1.Recognition and enhancementofthe valueofthe amateur service to the public as a voluntary noncommercial communication service, particularly with respect to providing emergency communications. 2. Continuation and extensionofthe amateur's proven ability to contribute to the advancementofthe radio art. 3. Encouragement and improvementofthe amateur service through rules which provide for advancing skills in both the communication and technical phasesoftheart.4. Expansionofthe existing reservoir within the amateur radio serviceoftrained operators, technicians, and electronics experts. 5. Continuation and extensionofthe amateur's unique ability to enhance international goodwill.70Ofprimary interestisPrinciple #1, with the emphasis on thephrase''panicularly with respect to providing emergency communications.71Thus, according to the governing bodyofU.S. amateur radio, oneofits primary purposesisproviding emergency communications. Within the amateur radio service are two groups created specifically to further the utilizationofamateur radio in disaster communications: Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES). RACES was chartered by the government; ARES was chartered by amateurs. RACES was created by the FCC to70. Part 97.1, FCC Regulations. 71. Part 97.1, FCC Regulations.
52provide communications for civil defense purposes as specified in Principle #3. At that time, thetenn"civildefense" generally applied to timesofwar. However, thetennisnow expanded to apply to any occasionof"local, regional or national civil emergencies..defmed in section 97.407ofthe FCC regulations. 't72 RACES is governed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency or a local government's officeofemergency management. The Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) was founded in 1914. Located in Connecticut but involved in both international and national matters, the league "operates strictlyasa nonprofit, educational and scientific organization dedicated to the promotion and protectionofthe privileges that ham operators enjoy. '073 To better address the needs and requirementsofproviding good emergency communications, the ARRL created the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)in1914. ARES consistsoflicensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Usually ARRL charters ARES groups on the local level. Each local ARES groupisheaded by an emergency coordinator (EC).The responsibilitiesofthe local EC include the following: Manage and coordinate the training, organization, and emergency participationofinterested amateurs. Establish an emergency communications plan for the community that will effectively support the city agencies. Establish a viable working relationship with the city government and all private agencies operating within a city.72. Keannan,p.2-22.73. Kleinschmidt, pp. 1-4.
53 Establish local communications networks run on a regular basis, and periodically test those networksbyconducting realistic drills suchasthe Simulated Emergency Test (SET). Intimesofdisaster, evaluate the communications needsofthe city and respond quickly to these needs. TheECwill assume authority and responsibility for emergency response and performance.74The local EC works under the district EC, whoisin chargeofthe county; the district EC, in tum, works under the section EC, whoisin chargeofan entire region. Although created as two separate entities by different groups with distinct purposes, RACES and ARES now frequently perform manyofthe same functions. Often, the membership for both groupsisthe same and the two groups operateasone.InBoulder County, the ARES chapter, knownasBCARES,isalso recognizedasthe official RACES group. However, thisisnot always the case. Because RACESisgovernment sponsored and run, there are more regulations and services provided to government entities, while little or none are provided directly to the public. ARES, whichisnot tied by governmental regulations,ismore apt to provide service directlytothe public. This difference can sometimes create friction between the two groups.Asa result, they remain separate entities with two distinct functions that may even provide more service to an area.75When working with volunteers, there are three main issuesofliability that must be addressed-the actions, property, and dependentsofthe volunteers.76AsinGood Samaritan74. ARES Emergency Responder Manual, Revised November 11, 1990, p. 7.1. 75. There also exists the Military Amateur Radio Service (MARS), a groupofamateurs dedicatedtoproviding servicetomilitary personnel and their families. 76. Feller, interview with author.
54Samaritan Laws, a volunteer has good intentions and cannot be held liable by the community for any accidentally damaging actions. The community, represented by the specific agency for which the volunteer works, must take responsibility for allofhis or her actions. In a similar manner,ifthe volunteer's personal propertyisdamaged while providing service to the community, the community should cover the costofthe damages. This includes providing worker's compensation or temporary insurance coverage for injuries the volunteer sustains while working. The third liability issue surfaced in the aftermathofthe Mount St. Helens volcano eruption, when two amateur radio operators died while on duty, leaving families who depended on them for financial support. The debate arose over whether the community owed compensation to the dependents; however, in this instance, compensation was paid. Nonetheless, itisan issue thatisrarely considered until after a tragedy occurs.77PolicyWhen two or more groups work together on a project, itisimperative that eachgroup-andall membersofeach group-fully understand the divisionsofresponsibility, particularly in an emergency where lives are at stake. There must also be mutual understandingofrules, regulations, and the policiesofthe involved agencies. For example, the Mile High Chapterofthe American Red Cross has a verbal understanding with the hams that assist them, and BCARES and the BRCC have a memoofunderstanding (MOD) that details assignments and responsibilities.Inmost cases, an MODisthe best approach.77. Ibid.
55Along with MOUs, written disaster plans are important in predisaster planning. Such a plan, in additiontooutlining step-by-step responses to a disaster, clarifies policy and logistical issues suchasthe chainofcommand and where to obtain resources. When assignments and responsibilities are in black and white, later confusion regarding these issuesisavoided. Financial Hams offer their time, skills, and equipment for free. Most disaster control and disaster relief agencies have limited budgets and resources, and replacing or paying for these elements would cost more money than most agencies can afford.Byproviding their equipment, frequencies, skills, and time, amateur radio operators help mitigate these fmancial limitations. CASE STUDIES The Mile HighChapteroftheAmerican Red Cross Amateur radio has historically assisted in communications during emergencies, and one group they've assisted more than mostisthe Red Cross. Examplesofinvolvement with the Mile High Chapter include: North Port Apartments fire, Boulder, June 1993. Old Stage Road fire, October 1990. Limon tornado, June 1990. Loma Prieta earthquake, October 1989. Black Tiger/Sugarloaf fIre, October 1989. Hurricane Hugo, September 1989.
56ProvisionsThere are 28 core hams that handle the communications for theMile High Chapter, all of whom are also experienced in Red Cross emergency communications procedures. In addition to possessing personal radio experience, they participate in Red Cross training. They have always been available when needed and have proven very capable. Through their continued involvement with the Red Cross over the years, their skills and expertise have become known and appreciatedbythe chapter. Also, manyofthe hams who workascommunicators are Red Cross volunteers, even Disaster Action Team (DAT) members, who have had at least minimal training in Red Cross procedures and operations. The Red Cross utilizes VHF FM radios for voice communications and packet radios for hard-copy. Both are critical to their operations. The hams provide all the equipment; noneispurchased or maintained by the Red Cross. Conversely, this equipment leaves when the hams leave, regardlessofthe absenceofa replacement system.AnMOD does not exist between the hams and the Mile High Red Cross; thereissimply an understanding. This has worked for themsofar, and the Red Cross sees no need to change. The service the hams provideisinvaluable since the chapter has no fmances for purchasing equipment or training operators.SummaryThe hams that act as communicators for theMile High Chapterofthe American Red Cross provide a critical service. Without their skills and equipment, the Red Cross could not
57operate effectively.AsJuanita Lewis, Disaster Services Specialistofthe Mile High Chapter, put it,"Ifit weren't for them,I'dbe dead in the water."78Metro D.C. Chapters of the American Red Cross ProvisionsThe levelofamateur radio support is not the same in all Red Cross chapters. The Arlington Chapter has 16 volunteers, mostofwhom are hams. A local amateur radio club exists on site at the Red Cross chapter office, and the chairofthe Arlington Red Cross Disaster Action Teamisin the processofobtaining her license.79Just a few miles away, however, is a different story. The National Capitol Chapter has very minimal support from local hams. Juan Rios, the Emergency Services Specialist for the chapter, would like to see this change. In an effort to gain support from local hams, the chapterisworking to obtain a repeater and antennastofacilitate better amateur radio communications.80SummaryWhile amateur radio operators do actively support the local Red Cross chaptersinthe metro D.C. area, it does not seem to be to the same extentasin the Denver metro area. As Juan Rios suggested, there is probably a direct relationship between the frequencyofoccurrencesofmajor disastersina given area and the extentofamateur radio activity.8178. Juanita Lewis, interview with author. 79. Elspeth zaayengaa, interview with author. 80. Juan Rios, interview with author. 81. Ibid.
58BCARESIn1976, a wildfIre burned on Comforter Mountain in Boulder County. Bill McCaa, then directorofthe communications center and also aham,called some local amateur radio operators for assistance when the available communications were not enough.Asa result, the benefIts of amateur radio were clearly demonstrated and the staffofthe communications center, in talking with membersoflocal amateur radio clubs, determined they wanted a groupofamateurs dedicated to working with the center. Thus, the Boulder County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (BCARES) an organizationofamateurs geared specifIcally to providing emergency services to public agencies,wasborn. BCARES provides volunteer personnel and equipment under a unique arrangement. They rendered assistance, for example, during the following: Antiwar demonstrations, January1991 Limon tornado, June 1990. Old Stage Road Fire, October 1990 Sugarloaf/Black Tiger Mountain Fire, October 198982Provisions BCARES meets all the requirementstoprovide emergency communications. The group has 72 members andissupported by all three local amateur radioclubs-theBoulder Amateur Radio Club, the Longmont Amateur Radio Club, and the Rocky Mountain VHF Club. BCARES members are also trained. In addition to individual experience, they receive training through three main venues:1)On-the-air Net meetings;2)simulated emergency tests; and 3) training classes.82.JimAndrews, Interview with author.
59Every Monday at 9:00 p.m., the BCARES Net convenes on the air. The purposeofthe Net is to make announcements, facilitate discussions about group matters, and receive training in BCARES emergency communications. Following the voice netisa training net for people in packet radio communications. A simulated emergency test (SET) is held at least once a year. This full-blown training exercise is usually coordinated with thoseofother public safety agencies. BCARES members provide communications. BCARES members also attend training classes, where proper "disastermode"operations and procedures are taught. Also, those who do not have access to someofthe communication systems, like packet and amateurTV(ATV), receive training in operating them. These classes allow BCARES to improve the qualityofservices they provide and increase the numberofskilled operators. BCARES has all the technological resources necessary for quality disaster communications. Several voice repeater frequencies cover the county, and every memberisrequired to own an HT that operates on the same frequencies. BCARES also has a HFSSBtransceiver at the911Dispatch Center. BCARES can capably handle data and image communications. The group has systems for both packet radio and ATV. The packet system consistsofthree portable stations, one permanent station in the dispatch center, and two permanent stations in the Sheriff Department's mobile communications van. All BCARES packet stations include a second two-way radio for voice communications, facilitating more efficient troubleshooting and monitoringofthe packet
60network. It is also used for voice acknowledgmentsofmessages.Bynot using the packet system for these acknowledgments, the efficiencyofthe system greatly increases. The BCARES packet system uses PacketCluster, a bulletin board system, which allows for smoother and faster deliveryofmessages and the interconnectionofmany stations at the same time.83BCARES has also tested linking this system to others for long-distance data communications December 1991 Testoflinked PacketClusters: Three PacketClusters, each with their own 2-meter frequency, connected on 440 MHz. This test was very successful; even the skeptics were impressed. Fifty stations connected at the same time, with15stations throughout the area involved in the exercise. Messages flowed transparently and rapidly from cluster to cluster; the system truly operated likeone big bulletin board! We plan to use this system for major disasters involving packet traffic between counties.84Forproviding image communication services, BCARES has two portable TV transmitters and a portable television repeater for transmitting from remote sites. For receiving thevideo transmissions, one TV receiverislocated in the communications center situation room and one in the mobile communications van. ATV has been, in fact, the primary formofcommunication provided to the communications center by BCARES in the last coupleofyears. The center understands the applicabilityofthis technology and has financially supported its development. Linking these systems together are the hams whotryto be on the leading edgeoftechnology. Over the years, BCARES has repeatedly provided the Boulder Regional Communications Center (BRCC) with a technologyorsystem unavailable, but very useful, to them. First, the BRCC just needed more mobile communications because hand-held units were not prevalent. When hand-83. Richard Ferguson, Packet Radio and Emergency Communications: Public Safety Enters the DigitalWorld,"73AmateurRadioToday,(October 1992):44. 84. Ibid.
61held radios became more available, BCARES offered telephone patch capability through their radios and repeaters. Then, when cellular phones started becoming available, BCARES offered the data communications system packet radio. Now, there are portable faxes and digital pagers with text readout capabilities. Although packetisstill very much in use, ATV has now entered the scene. Controlled live video from a disaster sceneisonly possible through amateur radio.Itisnot known what the next technological development willbe,but Don Schafferofthe BRCC believes that hams will be aheadofpublic safety agencies in this area.85BCARES was chartered by the Boulder County communications center, not the Amateur Radio Relay League.Itisa nonprofit, public service corporation, registered under the OfficeofEmergency Management. BCARESisthe legallocal RACES organization, and although BCARESisgovernment-chartered, the headofBCARESisthe official ARRL Emergency Coordinator for Boulder County.86Among other things, members are required to:1.Have a valid FCC amateur radio license at technician class or higher. 2. Pass a computer background checkandbe approved by the BoulderCounty Sheriff's Department for an emergency services identification card. 3.Beapprovedbythe boardofdirectors. 4. Participate in an initial individual training session, which includes a tourofthe911dispatch center. 5. Own a two-meter FM hand-held and/or mobile radio. 6. Actively participate in various BCARES training exercises. These include the weekly radio net, SETs, annual meetings, and individual training sessions.8785. Don Schaffer, Interview with author.86. BCARES Manual,pp. 20-21.87. Ibid.
62Because itisa government-chartered organization, BCARESismore accountable than most volunteer groups. The memorandumofunderstanding (MOD) with the BRCC states that BCARES will handlethe communications needsofthe BRCC first and foremost, evenifthe group receives an outside requestfor communications assistance. Health and welfare inquiries are not handledby BCARES but are left to the Red Cross. (The complete MODisin Appendix A.) Someofthe primary issues addressed by the agreement are response time, equipment provision and maintenance, staffmg, and training. BCARES has existing MODs with other groupaswell, including the Mile High Chapter of the American Red Cross; however, since the chapter has its own groupofhams, BCARESisonly called when they have a shortageofhelp. In that case, BCARES will provided assistance after they have met their obligations to the BRCC. BCARES follows disaster plans establishedbythe BRCC, particularly specific plans for wildfires and flash floods.Ifother typesofdisasters occur, the group follows oneofthese two plans. The wildfire disaster planisfollowed if the current disasterislimited in area and numberofaffected people; the flash flood planisused if the disasterismore widespread and affects many people. Activationofeitherofthese plans starts with a page from the dispatch center to the three BCARES officers, eachofwhom wears a beeper.Inthe eventofan emergency, they contact other BCARES membersasnecessary for the size and severityofthe situation. The fmancial stateofBCARESisstated plainly below: BCARESisa non-profit corporation.Itdoes not charge its members dues. BCARES' sourcesoffunding consistofnon-taxable, charitable donations from corporations and private individuals and government grants from the agencies served and FEMA. BCARES' funds are used solely to purchase communications equipment and supplies.
63Noneofthe directors, officers or members receive compensation from BCARES. All are volunteers.88Although the BRCC has no budget for BCARES operations, they do fund equipment purchase and installationofsystems, antennas, and other itemsasneeded. However, primary funding is received through donations. IBM, a major local business, has on more than one occasion donated money for purchasing communications equipment, and a private patron donated anHFSSBradio. Another, and perhaps primary, meansoffunding BCARES equipmentisgovernmental "reimbursement for services provided." The federal government compensates fmancially for local resources, both personnel and equipment, used on federal land suchasa national forest. The BRCC bills for the time and equipment used, for example, in fighting a forestfire. The rate assigned to BCARESisthe sameasthe one assigned to the volunteer fire departments. Because by federal regulation hams cannot receive payment for services rendered, reimbursement for servicesinthese eventsisgiven to BCARES, which in tum purchases additional equipment to provide better service to the BRCC. Additional funding for BCARES has come through a FEMA matching-grants program called "State and Local Warning and Communication Systems." Its objective and uses are statedasfollows: OBJECTIVE: To maintain the civil defense readinessofState and local governments by furnishing matching funds for the purchaseofequipment and supporting materials for State and local direction and control, alerting and warning systems and to upgrade State and local emergency communications networks.88. BCARES Manual, p. 17.
64USES AND USE RESTRICTIONS: This provides for up to 50 percent in matching funds and technical assistance to State and local governments for upgrading statewide emergency and warning communications systems.89SummarySince its inception, BCARES has provided the BRCC with technology and services otherwise unavailable to county public safety agencies. Becauseofthe experiences with BCARES, in an emergency,"thedispatch center calls the hams before they order the food."9089. FEMA, and Local Warning and Communication Systems," p. 32. 90. Ferguson, p. 45.
65 CHAPfER 8ANALYSISIssuesPersonnel There are three primary personnel issues required for successful disaster communications-availability, ability, and proper useofvolunteer expertise.Inthe first instance, individuals in chargeofproviding communicationsmust be available. Withoutthem, communications do not happen. Hams are usually available for any local emergency; however, because they are volunteers, they are notalwaysavailable, particularlyifthey are affectedbythe disaster. Second, thoseresponsible for handling communications must possess training and expertise in two areas:1)general communications, including both technical and operational; and2)disaster response, which involves communicationsaswellasunderstanding and following the policies and rulesofthe disaster services agencies. Most hams have the necessary skills for general communications; more oftenthannot, hams also have experience with emergency communications. Although skill level can vary, manyofthehamsinvolved in public service constantly upgrade their technical and operating skills through personal work, amateur radio contests, and training sessions. Every year, at least one simulated emergency test is held in
66which all disaster services groups, including public safety agencies, Red Cross, local hospitals, and amateur radio operators test their ability to respond to an emergency. Third, those in chargeofthe overall disaster response need to know the communicators and their levelsofexpertise in order to effectively incorporate them. Hams have a good working relationship with disaster service agencies, and most hams are willing to demonstrate their abilities to any group. A training exercise provides the best opportunity for an agency to learn about the usefulnessofamateur radio.TechnologicalIssues Disaster service agencies have their own communications systems, but they need a backup,ifnot a supplemental, system. The three requirementsofthese systems are1)capacity for rapid deployment, 2) easy setup and operation, and 3) capabilityofboth voice and data transmission. The three technologies that provIde these capabilities are cellular phone, satellite, and amateur radio. The two commercial alternatives, cellular and satellite, each have merit. However, cellular phone systems are not a viable option for the reasons discussed in Chapter 6, primarily duetotheir current limited coverage and capacity, particularly when under heavy load situations like a disaster. The LowEarthOrbit satellite systems thatcould have applications in emergencies are still in the development stage and waiting for approval from the Federal Communications Commission. Ham radioisa viable alternative. A ham canbeon the disaster scene within an hourortwo. Hams are also at ease with the setup and operationofeither their own equipmentorthat on
67which they have been trained. Also,aspreviously discussed, amateur radio systems are fully capableofproviding voice, data, and video transmissions. Amateur radio offers two additional benefits. First, the additional spectrum available to hams supplements the frequencies assigned to disaster service agencies by the FCC. Second, amateur radio systems are interoperable, that is, voice, video, and data communications can be operated on the same systems. Regulatory Issues According to the FCC, a primary purposeofamateur radioisto provide emergency communications to the public. Hams established the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES)asa national organization with the Amateur Radio Relay League (ARRL) to help meet this goal. The Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) was establishedasa govemment regulated groupofamateurs specifically dedicated to providing emergency communications. In some areas, the local ARES chapter also operatesasthe local RACES chapter.Inothers, due to their perceived differences in objectives, they operateasdistinct entities. Policy Issues Two policy concerns must be addressed for successful, reliable disaster communications. Each involved group must have an operable disaster planaswellasa mutual understandingofliabilities and responsibilities. These elements become even more important when dealing with volunteers who are not always available or adequately trained. As volunteers, the control and command exerted over themissubject to their approval and consent. While thisisusually not
68a major problem since they are there to help, it is still something that must be remembered. A disaster plan is a critical elementofdisaster planning and management. A written agreementisnot mandatoryassome groups have shown they can manage quite well without one. However, an MOD is recommended for handling issuesofliability and responsibility. Financial IssuesOfprimary importance when considering a communications systemisits affordability. Since hams, by legal charter, are restricted from receiving fmancial compensation for services, amateur radio is easily both cost effective and affordable.Ifanother group considers a plan similar to one used by BCARES, the only potential costs are related to worker's compensation insurance coverage and equipment purchase. ApplicabilitytoDisaster Communications Disasters and emergencies are growing in magnitude and frequency, and they have the potential to impact every human being. Thus, there is a need for disaster communications, especially for disaster control and disaster relief agencies. These agencies have their own equipment and systems, but these are rarely adequate. Amateur radioisa viablesupplementaldisaster communications resource. Althoughitisused heavily by many Red Cross chapters with great success, amateur radio is not recommendedastheprimary-oreven backup-source of communications. There are too many variables with volunteers to justify amateur radioasanything but supplemental.
69Despite this limitation, amateur radio should notbeoverlooked. Since its development, amateur radio has proven tobean effective emergency communications service provider. It can fill the communications gaps in disasters and provide skilled personnel, equipment, and additional frequencies and technology otherwise unavailable to an agency. Proposal Amateur radio is a critical resource when planning for and managing the response to disasters. The following section suggests a plan for incorporating amateur radio into a local agency's disaster communications plan. This proposalisapplicable to both disaster relief and disaster control agencies. First, analyze the existing emergency communications system, determine its problems and limitations, then decide whatisneeded for additional communications support. The agency's financial status should also be considered. Next, learn about and talk with local hams. Contact the local or state officeofemergency management to obtain information about the local RACES chapter.Ifa chapter does not already exist, information on starting one can be obtainedbycontacting the national office.91For information on the local ARES chapter or how to start one, contact theARRL.92Determine how many amateur radio operators are in the area as wellashow many are interested in serving the agency. Are there enough to make it worth the effort? Determine their capabilities and what they can provide, i.e., do they have a working packet radio system and91. RACES: The Federal Emergency Management Agency, 500 C Street, S.W., Washington, DC 20472. 92. ARES: ARRL, 225 Main Street, Newington. CT 06111. (203) 666-1541.
70ATV equipment?Ifthey don't have a system thatisdesired by the agency, determineiftheagency will purchase equipment and whether the hams will learn to use it. In additiontotheir capabilities, assess the hams' commitment level. Determine how many are willing to meetthedesired levelofservice, including time for training, on-call availability, and provision of equipment and systems. After assessing the availabilityofhams, mutually agree on exactly what their role will be. Spell out the expectations and responsibilitiesofeach partytothe other. In many cases, the best approachisto drawupa memoofunderstanding (MOD) between the parties that contains the functions and responsibilitiesofeach. This approachisrecommended to create a written foundationoftrust; however, most hams enjoy providing this service and do not necessarily require a written understanding. The agreement should also be incorporated in the agency's disaster plan. A fInal and very important issueistraining. Hams usually hold their own training eventsinequipment and systems instruction and emergency response; however, thisisnot suffIcient. Asa disaster management agency, hold regularly scheduled training events that include the hams. This provides the opportunity not only to see the amateur radio operators in action but alsotodetermine areasofimprovement for all involved parties.SummaryAmateur radio can be a very effective communications tool for responding to disasters. Hams have the skills, technology, and willingness to serve. It makes sense to plan for them, include them in the training and preparation for a disaster, and use them when disaster strikes.Ifthe
71issues in the proposal are addressed to the satisfactionofboth the disaster services agency and thehams, then the communitywillbenefit from the alliance.
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79APPENDIX AMEMOOFUNDERSTANDING BETWEEN BCARES&BRCCThe Boulder Regional Communications Center (BRCC) is the911emergency services dispatch center for the Boulder County Sheriff's Department and for most police departments, fIre departments, and ambulance and rescue groups within Boulder County. The Boulder County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (BCARES) is a non-profIt, public service corporationofFCC licensed radio amateurs which provides volunteer communication services during disasters. Representatives from BRCC and the Boulder County OfficeofEmergency Preparedness (OEP) serve on the boardofdirectorsofBCARES. BCARES will provide additional communications channels to BRCC to supplement the normal public service, emergency radio channels which become overloaded during disasters. These will include voice radios, packet radios and television. BCARES will set up communication stations to assist any public service agency in Boulder Countyasdirected by BRCC. BCARES will also coordinate all other amateur radio emergency activities within Boulder County. The typesofemergencies which would probably require BCARES support are those which are likely to involve multiple agencies and extend beyond a few hours duration. Typical examples are: large forest fIres, public riots, floods, airliner crashes, and large industrial accidents which involve numerous victims. Additionaldetails concerning BCARES are found in the "BCARES General Information" sheet, dated 12/91, whichisattachedasAppendix I. BCARES makes the following commitments to BRCC: 1. BCARES will be capableofstaffmg for 24 hours four separate stations. These are the Amateur Radio console in the BRCC dispatch center, the Sheriff's Dept. communications van and two additional portable stations for either packet radio and/or television. 2.Forshorter periodsoftime at the beginningofan emergency, BCARES might be able to fIeld an even larger numberofstationsifrequested by BRCC. 3.Forextended periodsoftime up to one week, BCARES will be capableofproviding a minimumof2 operatorsfor 2 stations for 24 hours per day. 4. BCARES will assure a response timeof1 hour within the cityofBoulder after receiving a BRCC radio page and 2 hours to most any remote location in Boulder County.
805. BCARES will preassign certain, well qualified members to dutiesasoperatorsatthe BRCC dispatch center and the S.O. communications van. These members will visit these locations to test and operate these facilities at least once a month. 6. BCARES will maintain a cacheofradio equipment at the BRCC dispatch center. This cache will include: 3 portable packet radio sets, 2 portable TV transmitters with TV cameras, 1 portable TV repeater, and 1 portable HFSSBradio. Twoofthe portable packet radio sets include45watt VHF-FM voice radios which are capableofoperating on both amateur and public safety frequencies. BCARES will provide the maintenance for this equipment. 7. BCARES will have available for emergency use a minimumof3'VHF voice radio repeaters. They are: 146.16/76 MHz, Gunbarrel Hill; 147.87/27 MHz, Longmont; and 146.10/70, NCAR. They provide coverageofmostofBoulder County except for the NCAR repeater which covers only the cityofBoulder and the eastern plains. 8. All BCARES members have their own hand-held and/or mobile VHF, 2 meter (144-148 MHz) FM voice radios. Some members also have available portable packet radio sets. These private packet radio sets will not be available for extended operations. 9. BCARES sometimes may have available "autopatch" repeaters for making out-going telephone calls via radio. These are not reliable and BRCCisadvised to use instead mobile telephone services whenever possible. 10. BCARES will hold voice and packet radio net training sessions weekly to practice procedures. A half day Simulated Emergency Test (SET) will be held at least once a year in cooperation with BRCC. This will involve a call-outofall BCARES members and setting up and operating all the various BCARES/BRCC stations and equipment. BRCC makes the following commitments to BCARES:1.BRCC will supply 3 pagers to BCARES. BRCC will call BCARES on these pagers whenever it desires assistance from BCARES. 2. BRCC will provide storage space in the dispatch center for the BCARES radio cache. 3. BRCC will supply the maintenance for theWOIA,145.09 MHz packet radio cluster digital repeater, packet radio digipeaters and the voice radios, packet radios and TVs in the dispatch center and the communications van. 4. BCARES members are coveredbyworker's compensationifinjured while on an emergency operation or training exercise when BCARES has been authorized to participatebyBRCC, or Boulder County Sheriffs Dept. or CityofBoulder Police Dept.Ifthe operationisa Boulder County jurisdiction, then Boulder County will provide the
81workman's compensation.Ifthe operationisa CityofBoulder jurisdiction, then the CityofBoulder will provide the worker's compensation. Signed by Ted Vratney, Director, BRCC12Feb 1992 Ronald K. Steward, Chair, Boulder County Commissioners 5 Mar 1992 lamesR.Andrews, Chair, BCARES12Feb 1992 Stephen T. Honey, Boulder City Manager 30 Mar 1992 ARES MISSION STATEMENT Within Boulder County, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) has made commitments to provide disaster communications for the following public service agencies: Boulder County Regional Communications Center (BRCC), OfficeofEmergency Preparedness (OEP) Red Cross(RX),Longmont Police, and Longmont United Hospital. BRCCisthe 911 emergency services dispatch center for most police depts., fIre depts., ambulance&rescue groupswithin Boulder County. There are fIve separate groupsofradio amateurs that comprise the ARES. They are: the Boulder County Amateur Radio Emergency Services (BCARES), the Longmont Amateur Radio Club (LARC), the Boulder Amateur Radio Club (BARC), the Rocky Mountain VHF Society (RMVHF), and the ARRL National Traffic System (NTS). UnaffIliated amateurs are also included in ARES.