Emergency Communications Coordinator

The Role of the Emergency Communications Coordinator is:

  • To prepare and keep updated an inventory of emergency communication services provided by IARU Region 1 Societies.
  • To act as a focal point on amateur radio emergency communications services with IARU Region 1 to international bodies and user services (e.g. the International Red Cross).
  • To liaise on emergency matters with IARU Regions 2 and 3.
  • To prepare a common guideline on amateur radio emergency procedures.
  • To circulate and publicise information on emergency events in which the Amateur Radio Service has been involved.
  • To arrange meetings, when deemed necessary, to discuss principle and actual matters on amateur radio emergency communication. Such meetings shall only be arranged after approval of and in consultation with the EC.
  • To organise tests and exercises to promote international emergency communications and links between countries 

The role of Amateur Radio in providing emergency communications is becoming more widely recognised through our abilities to quickly build message passing networks when conventional systems are overwhelmed or non-existent. A number of Emergency Communications Groups have been created, either as part of their IARU Representative Society or as independent groups (see the list of Region 1 local Co-Ordinators here). There is more to be done to raise awareness with those societies and countries where emergency communications groups do not exist, and more established groups can still learn by sharing information with others. An indication of how different countries have different structures to deliver their services can be found in this work by Wolf Hoeller OE7FTJ.

In an increasingly interconnected world each of us may need the support of emergency communicators in other countries but to do this effectively means that we need to learn more about each others capabilities and ways of working. We do have increased awareness of emergency communications around the world via the annual Global Amateur Radio Emergency Conferences (GAREC) which have been held since 2005 and the twice-yearly Global Simulated Emergency Tests (GlobalSET) since 2006 but there is still more to be done.

The GlobalSET objectives are very useful to set a framework for activities in Region 1. These objectives are:

  1. increase the common interest in emergency communications.
  2. test how usable the Centre of Activity frequencies are across ITU regions.
  3. create practices for international emergency communication
  4. practice the relaying of messages using all modes.

Testing of the Emergency Centre of Activity frequencies will continue using the GlobalSET events. There are however other issues regarding the use of frequencies within the Region. There are many groups who have regular wide area nets within their own country and a list of these nets can be found here. By publicising these nets more widely it will provide the opportunity for other groups to listen in and become familiar with other ways of working.

Finally the GlobalSET exercises will provide the opportunities to practice relaying messages between countries using a standard IARU HF Emergency Operating Procedure and demonstrate our capabilities.

For more Information contact the IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator