Re: Unflattering comments from Puerto Rico volunteer hams

Kathy K7KJB

Good thoughts from both Rowland and Paul.


At a very minimum EVERYONE should take the ICS classes.  But it seems like the people deployed to PR had no training in deployment.  I wonder if ARRL has ever practiced deployment in the same way that we do with our annual drill.  Drills are the perfect opportunity to raise questions and adjust procedures.  I think ARRL just sent their volunteers out without a clear plan for how they would deploy.  Yes, I know they practice online with a Net all the time, but it’s absolutely not the same thing.  Hopefully they get that message and train with deployment in mind. 




From: [] On Behalf Of Paul Butzi (W7PFB)
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 2:10 PM
Subject: Re: [snovarc] Unflattering comments from Puerto Rico volunteer hams


Thanks for sharing your insights, Rowland.


Let me just put in a plug for the FEMA ICS online courses.  They are very simple.  There are things about ICS that I think are overkill (in particular the focus on terminology - I will never remember all the names of all the positions).  But they outline what is essential to being able to integrate on the fly with other people and other organizations during a crisis and have even a modest prayer of being effective - a structure into which everything fits and which prevents the sort of end-running and wildcatting that generated so much of the confusion on the ground in Puerto Rico.


My recollection is that the courses are FREE.  I don’t believe I spent a whole lot of time taking them.  I learned enough from taking them to make them worthwhile.  I’m not big on telling people what to do but it’s my view that pretty much everyone ought to invest the modest amount of time to go through the two key courses.


-p W7PFB

73, Don’t forget to smile and have fun!


On Oct 18, 2017, at 1:51 PM, Rowland <k7rwb@...> wrote:


Hi Robin,


Here is what I sent to the ARRL local staff and others.  It is my personal opinion and I am not speaking on behave of the Red Cross.


“I have taken the time to read the dissertation from the volunteer and feedback from others.  Yes it is passionate and yes he could have chosen better words but there are many valid points made.   I could go on about what my feelings are about what was said but the fact is I was not there so it would be conjecture at best.


What I truly hope for is there are lessons learned from this event.  The old adage that states if we do not learn from our mistakes we are doomed to repeat them is very applicable here.  The ARRL management needs to look at this critique with an open mind and filter down to the pivotal points made that perhaps contributed to the different failures of this ARRL deployment.  


As we all know some radio operators carry attitude with them that it should be their way or the highway.  We have all experienced that at one time or another in our clubs and regional events.  This is a dynamic that is hard to control other than knowing who and trying to facilitate a fix or making sure they do not deploy.


Training and certification is a huge issue that needs to be implemented in ARRL/ARES.  It should be offered and required if you are an ARES volunteer. It should be useful training that will prepare people for events like this for those that want to deploy whether it is locally or internationally.  This should also include background checks.


Regarding the Red Cross function here yes we have a communications team here in Seattle and one in Everett also. It is part of the DST Team (Disaster Services Technology). However there not a lot more of these teams in the country.  Where they do not exist ARES is asked to help.  Sometimes with success and sometimes without.  


I could go on for a long time about this but the reality goes back to my original statement.  Let's all learn from the mistakes that were witnessed. Let's leave the egos at the door and strive to make a better working machine. Only then can we have real successes when asked for help.”







From: [] On Behalf Of Robin WA7CPA via Groups.Io
Sent: Wednesday, October 18, 2017 11:53 AM
Subject: [snovarc] Unflattering comments from Puerto Rico volunteer hams

The discussion by disillusioned hams volunteering on behalf of ARRL has me feeling very confused. It sounds like ARRL chose newer hams, perhaps hams who had not had the online FEMA classes explaining chain of command--I don't know. (I thought ARRL chose the most experienced and capable...)The hams complained about the inadequacy and inappropriateness of the equipment sent in the ham kits, the politics, posturing, and even accused others of lying, etc. Anyone who cares to read the discussion at this Reddit link--is this what you would have expected? I need some perspective on this to understand what may occur in a disaster here...I do not really want to give life to this underbelly side of emergency response, but I think others in SnoVarc will have some constructive comments. All I can think of is UGH. I donated $100 for Ham Aid. I don't regret it--yet. 


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