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What will we do in the event of a disaster?

Please take a look at the St. Louis County Basic Emergency Operations Plan, specifically the ESFs (Emergency Support Functions). It initially may seem that amateur radio would only function under ESF 2 (Communications). While it is correct that we would operate under ESF 2, we would provide service to virtually all of the other ESFs.

On the County Web site, take a closer look at each ESF by clicking on its name. Carefully read what the ESF does, which agencies operate under it, and how it works. In almost every case you will see that amateur radio may have a useful role to play.

Take, for example, ESF 6 (Mass Care, Emergency Assistance, Disaster Housing). In all likelihood, amateur radio will be the primary means of communicating with shelters. Also think about ESF 4 (Firefighting). We already have an MOU with Central County Emergency 911 to provide backup communications to fire stations.

Coordination of the various ESFs will take place at the St. Louis County Emergency Operations Center. In it there is a large room, the Emergency Command Center. There are numerous tables, each with phones, computers, and a sign indicating which ESF it represents. Overlooking the whole room are two other rooms, each dedicated to providing communications to the ESFs. One of these is the amateur radio room, so it is clear that the Office of Emergency Management expects amateur radio to be an integral part of the whole operation. In addition to the ESFs, we will be a backup communications link to the State Emergency Management Agency in Jefferson City.

We urge you to carefully examine each ESF on the County Web site. (Take your time, it's a lot of material.) Doing so will give you greater insight into emergency operations in general and amateur radio's role in them.

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