The meeting of the Clearwater ARES took place on Nov. 9. The Nov. 2 Oregon SET (Simulated Emergency Test) was critiqued. The good points and the bad points were discussed as well as ideas to make next time better.
Ways to increase the numbers of hams locally participating in ARES were discussed. More personal contact is needed and more actual training. It was pointed out that several in the local area are alive because of ARES.
The discussion then turned to how to respond when encountering an emergency. A list of local amateur frequencies was discussed as needed. The actual frequency used in an emergency situation would depend on location. Talking directly to the sheriff dispatcher was discussed. Although legal in an actual emergency (life or property in danger) all other available modes of communications must be tried first. Using public service frequencies in an emergency without proper license or equipment is only legal in an actual emergency when no other form of communications is possible. A sensible order of communications methods to try is 1. Cell Phone; 2. Amateur Radio (VHF repeaters, simplex, UHF repeaters and HF); 3. CB radio; 4. FRS radios. Direct communications on law enforcement frequencies is a last resort. The FCC regularly issues large ($10,000 and up) fines for unauthorized operation on public service frequencies. In severe cases, prison terms have resulted!
The Clearwater ARES consists of licensed amateur radio operators from Lewis, Clearwater, and Idaho counties interested in providing emergency communications. Meetings are normally held at 10 a.m. on the first Saturday of the month at The Health Food Store on Main Street in Kamiah.
Due to the holidays, no meeting will be held in December unless an emergency comes up. For information on ARES call one of the following officers: EC (Emergency coordinator) Ken Tuning, 935-8888; Assistant EC Elroy Taylor, 983-1404; Assistant EC Randy Shaack, 926-7783.