New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service

Members of NYC-ARECS have the experience and expertise to provide a valuable public service to agencies and organizations in New York City. The organization's members are local community citizens, professionals, that understand civic responsibility and possess an abundance of civic pride. The organization's leaders, and their approach to emergency communications, is one that has been developed and molded specifically for NYC, and is not beholden to an outside organization. This was first recognized by Mayor Rudolph Giuliani through a Mayoral Proclamation in 1997, and presented by Jerome M. Hauer, the first Director of OEM (today the NY State Commissioner of the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services).

"Our city's vast and complex communications system, is indebted to the many trained amateur radio volunteers,
who are efficient and dependable and lend a much needed hand in times of crisis or disaster.
They are an invaluable part of our city's communication network."

--NYC Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, September 20, 1997

NYC-ARECS members have intimately been involved with communications in NYC, including 20 years of training for emergencies specific to NYC. This also includes past situations such as TWA 800, Y2K, the attacks of September 11, 2001, the Staten Island Barge explosion, the NYC blackout, several major floods and hurricanes, as well as other operations.[1] The following represent common activation scenarios:

During a potential hurricane or other major weather event:

Once the National Weather Service issues a Public Advisory of a Hurricane Warning for the New York City metro area, NYC-ARECS would:

  1. Officially check-in with the National Hurricane Center's net via High Frequency (HF) radio; this frequency would be monitored and information specific to NYC would be gathered in real-time.
  2. Activate the NY NBEMS/USeast NBEMS High Frequency (HF) [non-voice] digital net and monitor it for any digital HF messages into and out of the NYC area.
  3. Initiate a Logistics Net on one of nine NYC UHF/VHF repeaters; this net would serve as a Central Coordinating Point for radio operators from NYC and the surrounding areas that wanted to check-in, provide reports from the ground, and/or monitor/receive more information on the developing situation. This Logistics Net would collect weather data 'surface reports' from the Hurricane affected areas in real time by 'eyes on the ground' for use by the Hurricane Forecasters.

After a catastrophic terrorist or disastrous technological event:

After learning that a catastrophic event has taken place, such as what New York City experienced on September 11, 2001, NYC-ARECS would:

  1. Initiate a city-wide UHF/VHF Logistics Net for the purposes of information gathering. This would be used to transfer and share information from across the Five Boroughs and the surrounding counties (Bergen, Hudson, Rockland, Westchester, Nassau, etc.).
  2. Share vetted information and news as needed, to our members and colleagues that are active participants in several various NYC organizations, including the Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS), a US Department of Defense communications program; the American Red Cross; the Community Emergency Response Teams (CERT); the US Coast Guard Auxiliary; and the USeast-NBEMS HF digital net.[2]
  3. Be available to provide auxiliary communications assistance to requesting agencies.

Radio operator central coordination after a New York City or regional disaster:

In the event of a major disaster of the scale in which outside resources would typically make themselves available, such as what occurred after the attack of September 11, 2001, NYC-ARECS would log and keep in contact with any radio operators from out of town that were offering their services. NYC-ARECS would serve as a clearing house for radio operators who were willing to be tasked with assignments by agencies as needed. [3]

Global Mutual Assistance Network:

Whether it be an earthquake, hurricane or other event which disrupts normal modes of communication, NYC-ARECS can utilize its communications' global reach (via HF radio - both with digital messaging and voice modes) to support other groups by our very nature of being out of the area. New York City has a highly diverse population, made up of numerous peoples of varying ethnic backgrounds-people who may have friends and relatives in a potentially affected area. Because of this, the need for health and welfare traffic and multi-language translated messaging will be in need, this is something NYC-ARECS can assist with.

 

[1] Besides emergency traffic, duties radio operators have had included shadowing New York City officials, medical officials, handling medical traffic, operating with FDNY crews on fire engines, and coordinating communications for agencies such as the American Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

[2] This would enhance and promote the accuracy of local forecasts; the net would become a transfer hub for storm information (such as Hurricane Advisories); This will subsequently be shared over Amateur Radio, when other sources are not available to the affected area.

[3] This was a valuable service NYC-ARECS members conducted following the attacks of September 11, 2001.

Please direct any questions to PIO@nyc-arecs.org or in emergency call 646-862-7847

 

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