ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB046 (1995)

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB046
ARLB046 Hams help at site
 
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ARRL Bulletin 46  ARLB046
>From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  April 27, 1995
To all radio amateurs 
 
SB QST ARL ARLB046
ARLB046 Hams help at site
 
Hams provide emergency communication at Oklahoma blast site
 
Within minutes of the deadly explosion at the Oklahoma City federal
office building, Amateur Radio operators set up an emergency
coordination network that has been in non-stop operation since April
19.
 
According to updates from Thomas Webb, WA9AFM/5, during the first
few hours after the blast, telephone circuits were jammed and often
inoperative.  Amateur Radio provided vital emergency communications
to rescue and relief organizations until regular telephone service
was restored.  Located at the Salvation Army Emergency Coordination
Center, a net control station coordinated the efforts of more than
20 Amateur Radio stations in downtown Oklahoma City.
 
Volunteer operators were assigned to the five Salvation Army
canteens, the Salvation Army Area Headquarters, the Red Cross
Command Post, and the primary search and rescue command post.  Using
hand-held and mobile radio equipment, hams provided relief workers
with reliable, mobile emergency communication for more than 190
continuous hours.  Besides coordinating the distribution of
supplies, food, water and equipment, the volunteer hams also drove
vital supplies to locations in the disaster area.
 
During early relief efforts, technical skills of volunteer hams were
put to the test when it was determined the buildings in the downtown
area were blocking radio signals.  A mobile repeater station was
established at a Salvation Army canteen, allowing for communications
to be sent and received easily.
 
In addition to providing communications to rescue workers, hams at
the Salvation Army Emergency Coordination Center continue to process
health and welfare inquiries from friends and relatives outside the
Oklahoma City area.
 
More than 100 hams have participated in relief efforts, with between
60 and 80 hams working at any one time.  Most of the ham volunteers
are from the Oklahoma City area, but offers of assistance have come
from all over Oklahoma as well as Texas, Arkansas and Kansas.
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