ARRL and Local Volunteers in Puerto Rico Working Together in Storm Recovery
Nearly 2 dozen ARRL volunteers from the mainland and five local radio amateurs have been working in concert to do what needs to be done in the Hurricane Maria recovery under way in Puerto Rico.
The latest update from the island commonwealth reports that 14 volunteers have deployed to hospitals, while five are embedded with Red Cross reunification teams. One volunteer apiece has been stationed at the precarious Gaujataca Dam and at the Juncos Fire Station. Another seven operators are handling net control duties at the Puerto Rico Emergency Operations Center.
Five Amateur Radio volunteers have been redeployed to remote hospitals that are without communication. Volunteers at the EOC, located in San Juan’s Convention Center, relayed at request from Guayana Hospital for snacks, water, and a generator. Their second generator was reported to be about to fail.
The effort continues to resurrect the devastated electrical power infrastructure in Puerto Rico, and 40 to 50 Puerto Rican radio amateurs have been assisting the power company to maintain communication in an effort to restore power.
Twenty new transceivers and a 2-meter repeater have arrived. The repeater, donated by Yaesu, will be installed at Arecibo Observatory.
The FEMA ESF-2 (Emergency Support Function #2) communications task force relocated to a new part of the building and asked the Amateur Radio volunteers to join them there. The volunteers took down their station and antennas and re-installed them at the new location.
Vice President Mike Pence visited radio amateurs and emergency responders at the EOC on October 6. ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, arrived at the EOC on Friday. — Thanks to ARRL Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF; Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, and Gary Sessums KC5QCN