On May 3rd, 2012 we had a very productive meeting with Brian Kotrous, an Emergency Manager from NASA Protective Services. With 10 MARC members in attendance, we discussed our role in Emergency Preparedness at MSFC.
Here is a brief summary presented for inclusion into the Center Notes :
NASA’s Emergency Communication Service recommendations (Draft Rev.13) suggests that in addition to official staffing, volunteer support from the Amateur Radio Service can be enlisted. This prompted Brian Kotrous, an Emergency Manager from NASA Protective Services, to attend a meeting of the Marshall Amateur Radio Club (MARC) on May 3, 2012. After describing his mission objectives and some brief discussion, Kotrous invited the membership to participate in future MSFC emergency preparedness exercises. Several MARC members are planning to participate in the upcoming Severe Weather exercise planned for June 14, 2012.
A distinct benefit of utilizing ham radio volunteers, is that many are already connected to and familiar with local and regional agencies such as the Huntsville-Madison County EMA, and the National Weather Service. In addition to providing alternate path communication services, the MARC membership also provides a pool of experienced radio operators that can augment the Center’s capabilities in an emergency.
An example of this type of service the MARC can provide, was actualized on May 23, 2012 – when KHA945 (MSFC-EOC) was able to check into a regional shortwave radio “net” using equipment at the MARC radio station in Bldg. 4622. This is a weekly radio coordination test conducted by the National Communications System (NCS), for Shared Resources (SHARES). The MSFC EOC has been recently relocated and their HF (shortwave radio) system antenna is not available currently. The MARC will gladly continue to help facilitate this routine testing of operational readiness.
The Marshall Amateur Radio Club is looking forward to becoming more involved in the Center’s Emergency Preparedness activities, and is well positioned to provide additional communication support. More information can be found on the club’s blog http://wa4nzd.wordpress.com .