Emergency Coordinator: Richard Lenker
call: 717-554-5115 or email: KB3YRC@comcast.net
What is EMCOM?
Many of us understand it when we say EMCOM, but do we appreciate it and we feel that we can be an essential part of an emergency response. For those that do not recognize the word EMCOM, it is exactly what you may think it is “EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS”. But that is just two words, what it is to the Amateur Radio community is also called RACES or to the local governments, Auxiliary Communication Services (ACS).
As a HAM, we think that if there is an emergency, some HAMs may think that we can just respond to the call for assistance. While that may have a certain small level of truth, since Sept 11, 2001, life in emergency response has been changing. As a HAM in an EOC, we are known as the ACS operator. When we are supporting a local government with our radios, we are a part of the Logistics Section Services Branch Communications Unit in the Incident Command System (ICS). Who do we communicate with in a major emergency? When working in the EOC, you pass messages to and from the assigned person in the Logistics section.
In the last few activations of the Dauphin County EOC that I have been involved with, we were called upon several times when all else failed. In some cases we assisted in coordinating emergency services to the Red Cross Shelter for a possible heart attack, set up temporary communications to a flooded EOC, and in some cases, it was easier for the communication to come through the ACS operators than the other communications(phones all busy).
We still have an active role in an emergency. However, those interested need to be identified in advance of a need. We need the names of people that are willing to stand up and help your community during an emergency. Local HAMs (those in their township) typically are put on a call list for each local EOC. Additionally, those folks are on the master list that can be called in by the HAM responsible for the county EMCOMM coordination for other areas. The list that we currently have is over 10 years old. We need new HAMS and need to validate those on the list. If you are interested, please contact Richard Lenker at call or email 717-554-5115 KB3YRC@Comcast.net . ( Rick Taylor)