jurisdiction’s radio system for the duration of the incident. Two factors played heavily
into the selection of the radio system. Coverage was the number one concern, and
interoperability with neighboring jurisdictions to simplify communications during mutual
aid incidents was a close second,” say Nichols (Lee, 1999, p.2).
“We have formed a mutual aid interoperability working group,” explains Nichols,
“and all six fire chiefs have agreed to certain rules and procedures to take optimum
advantage of the system. We’ve renumbered our apparatus and assigned specific
channels and explicit policies so that the system will operate seamlessly” (Lee, 1999,
The August 1994 edition of Emergency Medical Services magazine featured an
article on amateur radio operators. Generally considered to be nuisances, there is a group
that the authors of the article, “Are There Amateurs at Your Disaster?” consider valuable.
Kenneth Phillips, Charles Steward, and Ronald Deutsch state that “there’s one group of
amateurs you should welcome at your disaster site: amateur radio operators – hams in
their lingo – who are often more professional and better equipped than the best of
professionals themselves” (Phillips, Steward, Deutsch, 1994, p.35).
In the May 2002 Public Safety Communications, APCO Bulletin, Tom Gibson
authored an articled titled “Using Amateur Radio Operators for Emergency
Communications,” he stated, “Since the completion of the Limerick Generating Station in
Limerick Township, Montgomery County, Pennsylvania, the Montgomery County Radio
Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) organization has been integrated into the
response procedures for an emergency arising from an event occurring at this plant. Three
communications channels are provided for in the plan: RACES, Office of Emergency