The National Weather Service has forecast that Hurricane Ida is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the US Gulf Coast on Sunday. ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio®, urges radio amateurs in, and just outside of, affected areas to prepare themselves and their property for a potential emergency.
At 1710 UTC on Friday, August 27, messages from the NWS National Hurricane Center in Miami, Florida indicated the “risk of life-threatening storm surge inundation is increasing along the coasts of Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama” and that “Ida is expected to be a dangerous major hurricane when it reaches the northern Gulf Coast on Sunday, and the risk of hurricane-force winds continues to increase, especially along portions of the Louisiana coast, including metropolitan New Orleans.”
Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) volunteers are encouraged to follow the latest news and information from their local Emergency Coordinator (EC) or Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC). ARRL Section websites can be found by visiting www.arrl.org/sections. Local Amateur Radio repeaters are often an additional source of good information.
Anyone in the path of a storm should heed all local evacuation orders. Review FEMA’s Emergency Supply Checklist and Family Emergency Plan. Radio amateurs are also encouraged to follow these tips:
- Ensure the safety of yourself and your family before volunteering. Additionally, radio amateurs should never self-deploy. Follow the lead of your EC and SEC.
- Charge batteries and have a supply of additional batteries on hand.
- Gather emergency lighting and flashlights.
- If you have a generator, test it. Make sure you have a supply of fuel.
- If you have a ham radio Go-Kit, review its contents.
- Monitor your local repeater for SKYWARN and other emergency nets.
- Keep frequencies clear which are designated for emergency communications.
“Sunday will be 16 years to the day when Hurricane Katrina devastated a large part of the Gulf Coast,” said ARRL CEO David Minster, NA2AA. “In the wake of that disaster, upward of 1,000 trained Amateur Radio volunteers provided emergency communications for served agencies. The American Red Cross, The Salvation Army, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the Federal Emergency Management Agency all called on volunteer Amateur Radio operators to provide communications because of damage, loss, and overwhelmed telephone, cell, and public safety communications facilities.” In Congressional testimony on ham radio’s response to Hurricane Katrina, then ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP (SK) stated, “The United States absolutely can rely on the Amateur Radio Service. Amateur Radio provides immediate, high-quality communications that work every time, When All Else Fails®
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