|"Radio Hams" join in National Exercise of Emergency Communications |
|Libertyville, IL - Lake County Amateur ("Ham") Radio Operators and Emergency Management personnel are participating in a nationwide 24-hour emergency communications exercise on Saturday and Sunday, June 22-23. |
Across Lake County, emergency responders and public service workers use a variety of different radio communication systems, but during a disaster, key parts of those systems can fail. Lake County, working with stakeholders across the county, has developed alternate communication methods to make sure vital messages can get through even if primary radio systems or public cell phones are not available during a disaster.
This weekend, Lake County Emergency Management and the Lake County Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) are participating in a nationwide 24-hour emergency communications exercise. This annual event, known as "Field Day," is a test of the Amateur Radio Emergency Services - ARES - program, and is coordinated nationally by the ARRL, the national association for amateur radio. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year's Field Day event.
The community is invited to join Lake County RACES volunteers on the Lake County Government Libertyville Campus, north of Winchester Road, just west of Milwaukee Avenue. Follow the "Amateur Radio" signs. Field Day is open to the public on Saturday, June 22, from 1 p.m. until 10 p.m., and on Sunday, June 23, from 8 a.m. until noon. To learn about Amateur Radio and emergency communications there will be demonstrations and opportunities for visitors to "get on the air," making voice contact with other amateur stations across the country.
During Field Day, operators demonstrate and test an array of communication systems and technologies, working in the field with improvised antennas and generator or solar power, as well as in emergency centers with permanently-installed equipment.
"One of the most common challenges in any emergency or disaster is communication, and we are proud of the service that amateur radio volunteers provide to Lake County every year. ," said Kent McKenzie, Emergency Management Coordinator for Lake County. "Field Day is a great chance for the public to learn more about ham radio."
Amateur radio serves an important role in emergency and disaster communications, because "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works." Ham operators can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or any other infrastructure that may be damaged or overloaded during a crisis.
Additional information about Lake County RACES can be found at www.RACES.org.