Radio Ham

Bill Barrett, a MOCARS member, was one of 25 local radio amateur operators to participate in this year's simulated emergency test. Contributed photo

It is always prudent to be well prepared for any emergency or disaster that might occur. To that end, the Moore County Amateur Radio Emergency Service conducted a simulated emergency test (SET) on October 26.

An annual event, the SET is an emergency management coordination drill organized under the aegis of Moore County Emergency Management and the N.C. Emergency Operations Center's Auxiliary Communications program.

“This year's activity was enhanced through an exercise partnership with neighboring Lee County's emergency response programs,” said James Johnson, a member of Moore County Amateur Radio Society (MOCARS).

The exercise provided a realistic training environment, designed to drill specific radio communications and support skills, with an eye toward providing a hedge against a future "bolt out of the blue" contingency affecting the citizens of both Moore and Lee counties.

In the scenario, a "wide-spread catastrophe" struck the region. All surrounding counties, except Moore and Lee, were impacted with widespread power, telephone, cellular and internet outages, hampering citizens and county governments alike. State emergency managers asked that Moore and Lee counties plan to receive medically-stricken victims; and prepare to provide transportation, communication, and medical support to surrounding counties.

Volunteer amateur radio operators, or radio hams, across Moore and Lee counties, plus Lee County’s Community Emergency Response Team personnel were deployed from their homes, with their own equipment, to Moore Health Department; FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital and Moore County Airport; and counterpart locations in Lee County.

Conducting non-stop radio checks from widespread locations, these operators transmitted simulated medical supplies and air-evacuation emergency messages across county lines; sent internet email via radio to the State Emergency Operations leadership; and conducted intercounty emergency medical transit drills via multiple 4WD vehicles.

More than 25 volunteers participated in this very successful SET. These operators had previously responded to hurricanes Matthew and Florence, and to events like the Uwharrie marathons and bike races.

“Constantly training, they strive to be ready to support their county’s citizens in times of emergency,” Johnson said.

Anyone interested in amateur radio is welcome to attend monthly meetings of the Moore County Amateur Radio Society. Meetings are held at 7 p.m. on the third Thursday of each month (except December) at the Moore County Health Center, 705 Pinehurst Ave, Carthage NC 28327.

Testing for amateur radio is conducted at the same location on the third Saturday of each odd month at 9 a.m.

For more information visit the club’s website at mocars.org or call James Johnson (910) 400-3019.

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