In Case Of Emergency…

During hurricane season here in Florida, or anytime some type of event causes emergency services to activate, HAM radio operators get involved. Who do you contact to report emergency situations? Some HAMs are directly involved by participating in their county’s ARES program, Skywarn, or in the case of Marion County, MCARES, but most are not. The Advent Hospital has a complete radio room set up for emergency contact use also.

Just to be clear, age and health issues are preventing me from becoming an active member of MERT or ARES now. But, in case of hurricane or other event, I will be monitoring the airwaves.

Before an emergency happens, it is a good idea to go over the ARES (Skywarn) and MCARES plans on their respective websites. Getting the “big picture” of what they want to do can be helpful.

Just for basic information, ARES is organized through the Silver Springs Radio Club and they have a website at www.k4gso.us and ARES has a website at www.aresmcfl.org that has a large PDF file of the entire emergency plan including all of the forms to be used. The website also can connect you to the club or ARES and Skywarn. The website is not easy to navigate and the information posted is more “big picture” organizational in nature. There is not a lot of information on the site about what to do as an individual during an event.

MCARES is part of the Marion County Sheriff’s Department. To find out about MCARES, the MCSO website is not much help, but does connect you with a page on how to join. Go to Marion County Sheriff’s Office (marionso.com). MCSO also has a Facebook site.

MCARES also has a “club” website run by MCARES members at www.kg4nxo.com. There is some information on what to do during an event , but none if you are not a member of MCARES.

WS2SRP has published a plan for the Ocala area hospital communications in case of hurricanes or other disasters. Check out the PDF file that is on line here: https://aresmcfl.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/Hospital-HEC_TEAM_ActivationPlan-FINAL-REVISION-5-30-19.pdf

There are other clubs in the county but none of them have any EMCOMM plans or procedures.

I’m only listing Marion County operations, but if you live close to The Villages, Lake County, or other nearby location, look them up on the internet and get the info you want, or need.

Just a D-Star note: D-Star and D-Rats are not high on the MCARES list of emergency communications anymore. D-Rats is not reliable thru the repeater. Simplex does work well, but no one has been practicing with that mode. MCARES does support the three repeaters, but no computer connection on KK4DFC for D-Rats anymore, with apparently no plans to “fix” it.