The following information was released by the Cypress Police Department.
Despite the Internet, cell phones, email, and modern communications, every year whole regions find themselves in the dark. Tornadoes, fires, storms, ice, and even the occasional cutting of fiber optic cables leave people without the means to communicate. In these cases, the one consistent service that has never failed has been “amateur radio”. These radio operators, often called “hams” provide backup communications for everything from the American Red Cross to FEMA and even for the International Space Station. Cypress’ “hams” will join with thousands of other amateur radio operators as they demonstrate their emergency radio communication capabilities this weekend.
Over the past year, the news has been full of reports of amateur radio operators providing critical communications during unexpected emergencies in towns across America including the California wildfires, winter storms, tornadoes and other events world-wide. When trouble is brewing, amateur radio operators are often the first to provide rescuers with critical information and communications. On June 23, 2012 the public will have a chance to meet and talk with Cypress’ amateur radio operators and see for themselves what the amateur radio service is about as “hams” across the USA hold public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities.
This annual event, called “Field Day” is the climax of the week long “Amateur Radio Week” sponsored by the National Association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power supplies, amateur radio operators will construct an emergency radio communication stations on the Cypress Civic Center Green area and test their capabilities to help the community of Cypress communicate with the rest of the world in this simulated emergency. Their slogan, “When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words to the amateur radio operators as they prove they can send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, Internet, or any other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year’s event.
“Reliable communications is important during disasters,” said Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley. “From the earthquake and tsunami in Japan to tornadoes in Missouri, amateur radio provided the most reliable communication networks in the first critical hours of the events. Because their radios are not dependent on the Internet, cell towers, or other infrastructure, they work when nothing else is available.”
The City of Cypress is proud to partner with our local Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (R.A.C.E.S.) volunteers as they demonstrate their capabilities from their makeshift command post to be established on the Cypress Civic Center Green located adjacent to City Hall. They invite the public to come and see amateur radio’s capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.
Amateur radio is growing in the US. There are now over 700,000 amateur radio licensees in the US, and more than 2.5 million around the world. Through the Amateur Radio Emergency Services program, volunteers provide both emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services, all for free.
Courtesy photo of Cypress R.A.C.E.S. Team with Chief Jackie Gomez-Whiteley.