Puerto Rico Section, American Red Cross PR Chapter, Ink Memorandum of Understanding
The ARRL Puerto Rico Section and the American Red Cross Puerto Rico Chapter have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to offer assistance and emergency communication support, should Red Cross communication systems fail or are disrupted. The MoU signing took place on March 3 at the Red Cross offices in San Juan. Red Cross Regional Executive Lee Vanessa Feliciano and Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, signed for their respective organizations.
“This MoU is based on the one ARRL has at the national level, and it was adapted to our local needs,” Resto said. “We are also in communication with various emergency radio clubs to be part of this accord and eventually to build ARES on the island.” Resto explained to Feliciano how the section emergency structure works and communication is provided.
Among other provisions, the MoU calls for both organizations to collaborate in training and educational opportunities, as well as pre-disaster planning. The Red Cross in Puerto Rico will also take part in Field Day and the Simulated Emergency Test (SET) as well as other emergency preparedness exercises.
On hand for the formal signing for the Puerto Rico Region of the Red Cross were Regional Disaster Officer Ángel Jiménez, Disaster Program Manager Joseph Guzmán, and ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator Juan Sepulveda, KP3CR, who arranged the signing ceremony.
Guzmán acknowledged the service that Amateur Radio has offered in past disasters. “During Hurricane Georges in 1998,” he recounted, “the only way we could reach the towns of Jayuya and Utuado — which were unreachable for a week — was via ‘los capecuatros’” — KP4s in Spanish, the way radio amateurs are known in Puerto Rico.
Feliciano thanked the ARRL Puerto Rico Section “for this partnership that will enable us to communicate with affected communities in times of disasters.” She also indicated interest in holding a workshop for Red Cross volunteers, so they could learn more about Amateur Radio.
The MoU is for a 3-year term and is renewable. “Hopefully this is the first of other MoUs we will be signing with other governmental served agencies in the future,” Sepulveda allowed. — Thanks to ARRL PIC/ASM Angel Luis Santana, WP3GW