Amateur Radio: Your Resource in Disaster and Emergency Communication

Each year on 18 April, radio amateurs celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. On that ‎day in 1925 the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was founded. In 2009, ‎the theme of the event is Amateur Radio: Your Resource in Disaster and ‎Emergency Communication.‎

The Amateur Radio Service has traditionally made its contributions to emergency and ‎disaster response ever since its very beginnings almost 100 years ago, this role has ‎gained a lot of importance just in the recent past. It has done so mainly for two ‎reasons:‎

  • ‎The number and dimension of natural as well as man-made disasters is ‎unfortunately on the increase, and

  • ‎The modern communication technologies are increasingly complex, ‎infrastructure-dependent and therefore also increasingly vulnerable.

The Lebanon Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) puts two equally valuable ‎assets at its disposal for emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness and ‎response:‎

  • ‎A large number of very flexible and mostly infrastructure-independent, local, ‎national, regional and global networks, and

  • ‎A large number of skilled operators, who know how to communicate with ‎often very limited means and to establish communications even under the ‎most difficult circumstances.‎

The tools at their disposal range from the most robust means such as battery-‎operated stations operating in Morse code to links through amateur radio satellites ‎and interconnectivity with the Internet, in voice, text, image and data modes. They ‎range from local VHF networks of fixed, mobile and portable stations to shortwave ‎networks that span the globe. All these networks are operated on a daily basis by ‎men and women who are thoroughly familiar with their technology and their ‎intricacies.‎

Telecommunications have become a commodity that society takes for granted, and ‎the sudden loss of that service is often felt in a similar way to the loss of shelter, ‎food and medical support. When disasters occur in regions that do not have good ‎coverage by public networks, or when existing communications infrastructures have ‎just been disrupted or destroyed by such events, the Amateur Radio Service comes ‎to the rescue.‎

Amateur Radio operators provide communications for the rescuers and relief workers ‎and their organizations and they help to provide communications for those affected ‎by a disaster.‎

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