Technical Articles

EMCOMM: The Importance of Exercises

Many organizations and groups decline in membership and participation, particularly in EMCOMM. Sometimes they may not offer the challenge and stimulation that people need to stay involved and active.

Bored volunteers? Challenge and stimulation is needed!

BService and social groups can have the mentality of “Use it or Lose it!” Emergency communications groups use multiple radios in multiple locations. Any exercise worth doing is going to involve using real equipment, as well as deployment to one or more locations within the group’s charge area.


Hospital Emergency Operations Center (EOC) during exercise preparations

Exercises need to be value-added. Include an element of training without being too difficult or too easy so you don’t lose volunteer interest. This can be challenging because members of the group can be on different learning levels. However, you can turn this situation into a way to enhance the exercise. Using a tiered system for an exercise allows all members to participate accordingly, while providing more advanced members with leadership or mobility opportunities. In addition, multiple platforms like digital modes or Winlink can be introduced.


County EOC during a Simulated Emergency Exercise

With the recent global pandemic, it has not been easy getting out to served agencies to prepare for emergencies. However, not all emergencies happen at served agencies. Value-added exercises can still be performed at home to test equipment and stretch capabilities. Stations can continue to learn new modes and develop skillsets to prepare for any eventuality.

Digital Go Box on top of KE8FMJ Go Box

There are multiple levels, from weekly nets to statewide drills, in which to get involved. Whether stuck at home or in charge of an EOC, helping prepare for emergencies is a worthy and appreciated cause. If the time comes for a true emergency, the preparations made can save lives and property, and contribute to the welfare of the community at large.

Questions? Share them in the comments below or email me at KE8FMJ@arrl.net.

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