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ARRL Northern Florida Section Seeks Volunteers to Deploy to Hurricane Zone


Northern Florida ARES is seeking volunteers to deploy for up to a week to areas of the state devastated by Hurricane Michael. Serious communication issues remain in the Florida Panhandle in the storm’s wake, with the telecommunications infrastructure ravaged and storm victims unable to communicate with family members outside the region. The Florida State Emergency Operations Center (EOC) is hoping to recruit eight operators. Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, KG4HBN, said ARES needs as many volunteers as possible.

“They need to be self-sufficient for 7 days (food, water, place to sleep, power, radio, etc.),” he said. “HF is highly recommended. The list of locations needing to be filled continues to grow.”

Clay County ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator (AEC) and Public Information Officer Scott Roberts, KK4ECR, was cited in a news media account that several counties with damage to critical infrastructure remain without any form of communication, with Amateur Radio remaining as the only method of communication between shelters and emergency management. Roberts said a few volunteers deployed from Duval County to assist at shelters in the Panhandle, but more are needed to help relay information and direct resources within affected areas.

“If they need cots, more food, or they’re running low on anything, they would pass that information over radio to the State Emergency Operations Center or the resource centers to get them sent to the shelters,” Roberts told News4JAX in Jacksonville this week.

Volunteers must have been vetted by their local county emergency management agency, have radio equipment and antennas for VHF/UHF (SARnet), HF, and, if possible, HF Winlink capability, and their own shelter. Alternate power sources would be needed as well — including solar, wind, or generator, as well as food and water for 7 days. Volunteers should be familiar with message and traffic-handling.

All prospective volunteers should live in Florida. No one should self-deploy

To volunteer, visit the ARRL Northern Florida Section website for more information, or contact Karl Martin, KG4HBN



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