Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers from several South Carolina counties are pitching in to help support emergency communication, as the state deals with the aftereffects of Hurricane Florence. The storm, now a tropical depression, continues to generate heavy rainfall in the Carolinas.
“Amateur Radio operators are far from ‘amateurs’ when it comes to providing communication in an emergency,” ARES Richland County Emergency Coordinator Ronnie Livingston, W4RWL, said. “Our volunteers here in Richland County have been staffing stations at the Richland County Emergency Operations Center (EOC), as well as at the Red Cross, since the requests were first received.”
ARES District Emergency Coordinator EMEA Area 3 Earl Dean, W4ESD, said operators at the State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) have been keeping in contact with field volunteers in Marion and Dillon counties, after conventional telecommunications failed there. “We were able to deploy assets and personnel, thanks to our volunteers who managed communications between these areas and coordinated with the appropriate agencies,” Dean said.
“South Carolina ARES is fully activated,” ARRL South Carolina Section Emergency Coordinator Billy Irwin, K9OH, told ARRL in advance of the storm, adding that he’s been coordinating regularly with the SC Emergency Management Division.”
ARRL South Carolina ARES needs additional Amateur Radio volunteers to assist with the response effort and is in discussion with the ARRL Alabama Section to fulfill this need through a mutual aid agreement.
Gordon Mooneyhan, W4EGM, Public Information Officer (PIO) for the Grand Strand Amateur Radio Club (GSARC), said radio amateurs set up and managed organized communication networks to assist local government and emergency agencies, as well as non-commercial health-and-welfare messaging for residents affected by the disaster, to let family members outside the affected area know they are okay.
On-air operations for National Hurricane Center station WX4NHC, the Hurricane Watch Net, the VoIP Hurricane Net, and SATERN have concluded. — Thanks to ARRL South Carolina Section PIC Tammy A. Livingston, N4TAL