Dade County Amateur Radio Operators Practice In Case Of Disaster

Reported by: Webb Wright
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Updated: 6/23/2013 12:32 am
     They may not mean much now, but ham radio operators say these sounds could save your life when disaster hits.
     "We have the expertise the equipment the know how to get communication. We can communicate locally, or worldwide. We can pass messages to families that might be in other states to let them know that you are well," says Richard Beldyk, the PIO for the Dade County Amateur Radio.
      Dade County ARES held a field day to make sure they are ready for the worst.
      "Today is seeing the capabilities of our equipment, working with one another as far as the contacts on the drills and if it is going to happen I'd rather it be under a drill if something fails, I'd rather it be now than when we are in the field on an actual emergency," said David Espy, also with D-ARES.
      "It's good to know the capability you have, how long you can run on primary, alternative power, it's good to know how far you can reach out providing if there was a nationwide disaster or a large disaster of that proportion it is good to know what you are capable of doing," says Joseph Chambers, with Dade County CERT.
       Dade County has been tested before, when tornadoes ripped through North Georgia, in April of 2011.
       "A lot of the residents were without power for ten days or longer also without communication. If you lose communication it can make a bad situation into a much worse situation," said Beldyk.
       "Provide communications with the ambulance service, fire department, and doing welfare checks in neighborhoods for the elderly. Different communities got hit and being able to check on them and report the damages so we can get federal help, state help, sent from other counties," added Espy.
       Now the group hope to get a new generation of operators on board....
      "Hopefully getting the younger people involved in this, broaden their minds and their education to what communications is about. Communication is what makes our world run on the contacts," said Espy.
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