One crucial aspect of the Amateur Radio Service is emergency communications. When disaster strikes and infrastructure fails, ham radio shines. From local to long distance communication, the knowledge and equipment that radio amateurs bring to the table is invaluable.
When cell towers go down, traffic handling systems can quickly relay information to friends and family across the nation or around the globe. When the power is out, hams know how to run their rigs from alternative power sources. When disaster relief teams show up, practiced radio amateurs know how to efficiently coordinate their communications to ensure that aid is given where it is most needed. As such, ham radio and Red Cross often go hand-in-hand (in fact, I even took my ham radio license exam at the Red Cross in downtown Louisville).
However, a recent report from Pro Publica’s Justin Elliott and Jesse Eisinger and NPR’s Laura Sullivan indicates that Red Cross operations might not be running at quite such a high level of efficiency.
Top Red Cross officials were concerned only “about the appearance of aid, not actually delivering it,” Rieckenberg says. “They were not interested in solving the problem — they were interested in looking good. That was incredibly demoralizing.”
Read more at The Red Cross’ Secret Disaster.