One aspect of amateur radio has been providing communications during emergencies. The Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) provides assistance in public service and emergency communications.
To those who are unable to deploy during emergencies but still want to be able to make a contribution using their skills and capabilities, Neighborhood HamWatch offers a way to help their neighbor and the emergency recovery effort. Operating from home or work, amateur radio operators whose personal health, physical condition, family needs, work requirements, or other factors that limit their ability to deploy during emergencies can still participate.
Neighborhood HamWatch is built upon three tiers of action:
- Neighborhood radio operators can get on their radios and talk to each other – amateur radio operators can break the barrier of silence.
- Neighborhood radio operators can contact government Emergency Operations Centers (EOC) – amateur radio operators can describe local neighborhood conditions and special needs to the proper emergency managers.
- Specially equipped Hams can send short messages – amateur radio operators can send messages to families outside the disaster zone through the Amateur Radio National Traffic System or via WinLink.
More information, along with a guide to getting started, can be found on the Neighborhood HamWatch website.