Over the past 10 days, 10 Petaluma Neighborhood Ham Emergency Radio Operators (HEROs) volunteered their time and amateur radio equipment to field test the “signal strength” of their message transmissions to and from various public school sites in the greater Petaluma area. A final signal check, that included public parks and community buildings that might be utilized as evacuation areas and disaster shelters, was conducted on October 20th at 10:21 a.m. – the beginning of the Great California ShakeOut Day for 2011. With few exceptions, the signal strengths were “strong. “Yesterday’s edition of Petaluma Patch reported this exercise with an article titled, Creating the Neighborhood Ham Watch. In addition, the article by David Korman included photographs. http://petaluma.patch.com/

In the event of a major disaster, such as 6.8 earthquake along our local Rodgers Creek Fault,
and first responders are busy coping with an overload of calls for help, many neighborhoods
will be on their own, unable to communicate their disaster situations to the City’s incident commanders. These volunteer Neighborhood HEROs can play a significant role by serving as “disaster intelligence” radio operators and transmit emergency messages to the City’s EOC – Emergency Operations Center, that report these conditions and whether or not it is a life or death situation.

Many thanks to Dave (KG6BZH), Rose (KG6FMK), Mike (WA6HJZ), Herb (KA6JAH), Bea (KI6LGS), Judith (KI6NKB), Pauline (KI6ZVD), JC (KE5TFZ), Donna (AG6V), and Bill (KI6GOO) for their volunteer service. Stay tuned for future posts on how any licensed amateur radio operator may become a Petaluma Neighborhood HERO.