Disaster Preparedness – Neighbors Helping Neighbors

Last week’s Petaluma City Council meeting (7/6/15) featured a two part presentation by members of the Fire Department related to Emergency Preparedness.  You may want to also see my earlier post Can Sonoma Communicate?. Part I of the meeting reviewed what was learned from the recent Napa Earthquake, and Part II reported on the city’s current readiness in the event of a major disaster. Here is the video segment of the city’s meeting on this agenda item:

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Disaster Preparedness - Neighbors Helping Neighbors 1 One important point expressed was that citizens should be prepared to react and to be prepared to be self-sufficient because they could be on their own for three-to-five days without assistance from the city’s first responders. Over the past several years, there have been various Disaster Preparedness programs offered by local groups and organizations that address these needs.

One major concern of this blogger has been how will neighborhoods communicate with one another when all power is out and normal means of communication by Because of the large of volumes of callstelephone, cell phone, computer, etc. are not available. This concern motivated a group of local licensed amateur radio operators to form a Neighborhood Ham Watch (NHW) network that been has conducting weekly Ham radio check-ins, as well as monthly face-to-face meetings for education and training.

There are three main NHW purposes: (1) Get on your radio and talk to other operators from other neighborhoods, and thereby ease tension and isolation associated with an Firefighters Presentation of Disaster Preparednessextended power outage; (2) establish a NHW net and communicate with local Emergency Operation Centers (EOCs), and (3) send welfare traffic at the request of neighbors to extended family outside the stricken area to relieve concerns and reduce clogging of telephone systems that might still be functioning.

Hopefully, this blog will attract the attention of licensed Hams in the 94952, 94953, and 94954 zip code areas, and motivate them to register their name, call sign, and e-mail address with the Petaluma NHW network. Please e-mail Bill Hammerman, KI6GOO, at whammer@petalumanet.org

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