Jan. 9, 2014
Contact: Marina Zuetell, N7LSL, MHz Consulting Services/Western Washington ARES, 206-954-4099
Paul Peters, Cowichan Valley Regional District, email@example.com, 250-715-6618
International radio exercise to cover a lot of territory
CrossBorder 2014, one of the largest-ever amateur radio emergency communications exercises, will take place on Saturday, Jan. 11, 2014.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m. on Jan. 11, operators from the Canadian provinces of Alberta, British Columbia and Yukon Territory, and Alaska, California, Idaho, Oregon and Washington will explore and document radio communications paths between hospitals and government emergency operations centers (EOCs) with the goal of being better prepared for major natural or technological disasters including earthquakes, tsunamis and plane crashes.
Amateur radio operators volunteer thousands of hours of service to their communities at no cost. When other modes of communications are inoperable during a disaster, amateur radio operators can provide disaster agencies with email, packet and voice communications. People interested in becoming an amateur radio operator may contact an amateur radio group in their community.
More than 75 amateur radio operators from the three provinces and five states will participate in CrossBorder 2014. A primary net control station near Duncan, B.C. and supporting net control station in Seattle will coordinate communications between hospitals and EOCs in their portions of Canada and the U.S. Exercise participants will disseminate both voice and digital messages and situation reports using HF (long distance) radio and VHF local/regional repeaters. The purpose is to identify repeater frequencies and digital communication paths that will allow messages to be sent between stations in diverse areas.
The CrossBorder 2014 Exercise is being conducted by the Cross Border Communications Group, an alliance of amateur radio operators formed in 2008, to coordinate cross-border communications during the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, B.C. Also participating in the exercise are the Washington State Patrol, Washington State National Guard and Washington State Emergency Management Division.
Note: Most of the exercise participants are in jurisdictions covered by the Pacific Northwest Emergency Management Arrangement (PNEMA) and the Pacific Northwest Border Health Alliance (PNWBHA). PNEMA is a mutual aid agreement between the United States and Canada created in 1996 to coordinate preparedness and response efforts during disasters. PNWBHA is a collaborative group of healthcare disciplines with mutual assistance agreements for resources and planning.
In addition to emergency management professionals involved with PNEMA and PNWBHA, the Department of Homeland Security [see note below] and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police ("E" Division Headquarters) will be tracking the results of CrossBorder 2014 as one aspect of the massive emergency communications that will be required during a large-scale disaster.
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