I'll be ready when . . .


Back in April of 2006 on an eHam forum a guy stated that he "would be ready when you need me." I took exception to his statement and my reply is shown below.

"I'll be there when....." The strongest statement that I can make and be sure it will not be deleted is "HORSE FEATHERS!"

What you are actually saying is that you are not willing to take training, you are unwilling to commit yourself or your equipment and really think this is all a joke. "Strong words" say you. True, but also accurate words. In the Hayman fire a few years back in Colorado (you remember, 133 THOUSAND acres and lasted six WEEKS. We ran out of operators on the third DAY. Where were all of those that said "I'll be there when you need me"? No where to be found. They would not and had not made a commitment. They were not there. Six weeks, 133K acres, thousands evacuated, how much larger does it have to get?!

Many will whine about those "professional" volunteers that "have so much time" and not really look at what commitment really is. http://www.w0ipl.net/commit.htm has my definition.

Most of you seem unaware that there was a Presidential Decree in 2004 that said all public service entities that receive federal dollars (that's almost every one of them) WILL have NIMS training by 2005 AND that includes volunteers working for them! Not much ambiguity there huh? Don't care if you like it or not. The Feds pay the bills in large incidents and like the saying goes about the golden rule, he with the gold makes the rules. Live with it.

Incident Command System (ICS) courses required are:
IS-100, IS-200 and IS-700. Recommended IS-800.
ALL ARE FREE people FREE. If you read at a fifth grade level it should take you no more than eight to ten hours to do ALL of them. If you want summaries, do a Google search on W0IPL and ECom. I have the summaries posted plus links to all of the FEMA courses so you can get credit.

ARECC: The ARECC courses were released almost a full year before they were ready. Due to the slow turnaround on updates, they are - almost - at the level they should have been at initial release. I'll not go into details of why on this forum.

Amateur Radio is a hobby,
Emergency Communication is a COMMITMENT!

What you do in spending time in training for Emergency Communication (ECom) is to establish that you have made a commitment. That commitment is what distinguishes you from a blabbering CB'er. Anyone can key the microphone and babble. It takes a communicator to expend as little time as possible on each message and yet have conveyed ALL information needed. That takes training. Training that we do NOT get in our day to day enjoyment of the hobby.

Anyone can grab a microphone and run a Billy-Joe-Bob-Sam-Phred-Al's red neck babble net. To run a true communication net, it takes training and practice. Training and practice you do not get in our normal day to day enjoyment of our hobby.

When I got my NRA certification as a firearms instructor it was not to be able to train others but rather to assure myself that I knew as much about firearms as I thought. Turns out that I was very close in how much I actually knew BUT I also learned a whole lot about how to teach that knowledge to others. THAT is why we train. To know the subject so well that we can teach others. You say "So what. I don't want to teach others." And I say - You need to be able to teach others to be effective as a communicator. It is only when you have that much knowledge that you are effective. I have yet to work an event or incident (see the ICS training for the difference between them) that I have not been able to provide real-time training to those that needed it and on a some occasions, receive more training myself.

The time you spend on training is a visible measure of how much of a commitment you are willing to make. A measure that most served agencies pay a lot of attention to. If you want to be able to go into an EOC, a Fire Base, or anything beyond the very basic evacuation shelter that the Red Cross runs (and even the Red Cross is now joining the group), the agency(ies) REQUIRE training so they know (or at least have some assurance) you know what the (bleep) you are doing. No training, no access. To those that say "If they don't want me the way I am, I'll stay home." GOOD, please stay home. Walk-on operators have proven to be detrimental to virtually every incident in the last twenty years.

Credibility is hard to build. Especially when we have overgrown CB types that walk-on to an incident and try to take over. An Amateur Radio License does NOT make you a communicator but training helps.

Pat Lambert, W0IPL
Colorado ARES Training Manager
and Colorado RACES member

E-mail at: w0ipl@arrl.net