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ARES® Stands Down After Joplin Storms, CERT Volunteers Needed

05/31/2011

Due to the end of the “search and recovery” mode after the EF5 tornado that struck Joplin, Missouri on Sunday, May 22, ARRL Missouri Section Emergency Coordinator Ken Baremore, W0KRB, notified area hams that all Amateur Radio communications from the Emergency Operations Centers to the field operations have been stood down as of May 30.

According to Baremore, officials are now focusing on debris and potential body part removal. “We do have some ARES® operators who are scheduled, and we will continue to work with SATERN through the rest of this week,” he said. “I want to thank all of you who volunteered and came to Joplin to help with communications, as well as those of you who are still contacting me to see if additional help is needed.”

Baremore said that even though ARES® has been stood down, he has received a request for radio amateurs to help with communications for the CERT teams in Joplin this week. ARES® membership is not required to be a part of a CERT team. “Eight hams are needed each day this week through Friday, from 8 AM to approximately 7 PM,” Baremore said. “If you can help please contact me via e-mail with your name, call sign, cell phone number, e-mail address and days you are available.”

Radio amateurs provided communications support between Springfield and Joplin after the tornado swept through Joplin, a city of 50,000 people in Southwestern Missouri. On Sunday evening, hams provided the only communication link between Freeman Hospital in Joplin and some of the hospitals in Springfield, standing down the next morning as the infrastructure was repaired. Springfield is about 70 miles east of Joplin.

Also on Sunday evening, hams set up a link between the American Red Cross offices in Joplin and Springfield, as well as to the Red Cross shelter in Joplin. According to Baremore, that communication link stayed open until Tuesday, May 24, as it was the only reliable method of communications.

“Our ham operators expended more than 1900 hours during this week -- and we are still counting, as we have additional hours to record,” Baremore said. “And this was for the hams reporting through the Emergency Operations Center. Countless other hours were spent by individual hams helping in various ways -- what an unbelievable response. It is a great feeling to know that I am part of an organization with people willing to give up vacation time to help out in a time of need. I hope we don’t have another need anytime soon, but it is nice to know that we have hams and ARES® members ready to serve.”



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