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NVOAD Conference Brings Together 30 Disaster Groups

06/09/2011

By Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG

On May 24 through May 26 all roads led to the heart of the country for the 19th Annual NVOAD Conference at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Kansas City, Missouri. The mission and purpose of NVOAD (National Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) is to provide a forum where organizations share knowledge and resources throughout the disaster cycle -- preparation, response and recovery -- to help disaster survivors and their communities. The conference was well attended, with 550 people checking in. ARRL is a national member of NVOAD.

A number of forums gave participants the opportunity to hear firsthand from the other organizations about their roles in aiding with disaster recovery. Over 30 organizations had booths displaying the various services they provide, ranging from small portable water purification units, clothing items made from plastic bottles and even shrink wrapped diaper packets!

Mickey Caison was elected to another term as president during the conference. 

The importance of such a forum was punctuated by the devastating tornado in Joplin just before the conference began. In addition, during the first full day of the conference several tornadoes were sighted nearby and were reported to be heading toward the downtown area. Appropriate precautions were taken and attendees were directed to suitable shelter. Fortunately, no damage occurred.

The Service Project during the conference was greatly enlarged this year with the beginning of construction of a house for a local family. Another hands-on project in which my wife and I participated during the event included packaging food kits to be sent to Louisiana in preparation for the upcoming Hurricane season.

Jim Andera, KØNK, from Gardner, Kansas gave an excellent presentation on Amateur Radio in Emergencies and Disaster Relief Efforts. He first provided background on Amateur Radio and the different modes that amateurs use. He went on to describe the communication capabilities amateurs can provide in disaster communications. After the session, a number of people wanted to know more about Amateur Radio and its public service aspects. Jim left the convention to lend a hand in Joplin.

The 2012 National VOAD Convention will be held in Virginia.



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