an FCC conference in May
2011, FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate mentioned that "When
Everything Else Fails. Amateur Radio often times is our last
line of defense." He said that
we often rely on cell phones and public safety communication
for their resilience, but we must remember that they fail--"They
do, they have, they will!" Mr. Fugate went on
to recommend that "A strong amateur
radio community," "be plugged into"
emergency communications plans. He emphasized that amateur
radio should be included in emergency planning, because "When
you need amateur radio, you really need them."
In closing he included amateur radio communications as part
of a broad mission which has one objective--to meet the needs
of survivors of a disaster.
Here in New
York City, 9/11 had the effect of
emphasizing an already significant role of amateur radio with
respect to public service. Amateur radio was active with the Mayors
Office of Emergency Management, under Director Jerome Hauer,
throughout the 1990s and early part of this decade. In recent
years, amateur radio has played a greater role in various regional
public events and emergency activations across the United States.
Radio Amateurs remain highly relevant and have the ability to
assist in emergencies for the following reasons:
- Radio Amateurs
have a unique and qualified range of skills and experience in
using multi-band radio spectrum for amateur services and providing
backup systems to facilitate disaster relief and life-saving
information, when other means of communication are blocked or
- Radio Amateurs
are a communications infrastructure extender that can provide
extra radio operators, equipment
and communications channels for backing up and reinforcing the
communications network for various government emergency services
and disaster relief agencies to save more lives.
radio is useful for emergency communications because it does
not depend on any city infrastructure. That means amateur radio
does not rely on the electrical power grid or any cabled network.
cell phones and the internet have wireless capability, they
are still dependent on fixed antennas and cabling which can
be severely disrupted by a natural or man-made disaster; so
while very useful in an emergency, cell phones and the internet
cannot be relied upon completely.
- When the
phone lines are down and the electricity is off, it is still
possible to communicate locally or worldwide with amateur radio
using only battery power.
radio still gets through when everything else has failed.
FCC report concerning Amateur Radio
to the About Us Page