“Force of 50” volunteer Val Hotzfeld, NV9L, reported from Puerto Rico today (October 15) that Amateur Radio volunteers on Culebra and in Fajardo — Jeremy Dougherty, NS0S, and Matthey Gonter, AC4MG — made it possible for physicians at the two locations to communicate directly in an effort to evacuate a patient who is an amputee.
“The chief doctor and the administrator at the Fajardo hospital were all smiles, as the doctor told AC4MG, ‘You guys saved a life today,’” Hotzfeld reported.
Sixteen Amateur Radio volunteers are stationed at hospitals, while another is at the fire station in Juncos. Another five ham radio volunteers are assisting Red Cross reunification teams.
Mike Logan, KM4WUO, arrived on October 13 — the first of 10 SHARES HF radio system operators. According to DHS, “SHARES members use existing HF radio resources of government, critical infrastructure, and disaster response organizations to coordinate and transmit emergency messages. SHARES users rely on HF radio communications to perform critical functions, including those areas related to leadership, safety, maintenance of law and order, finance, and public health.”
Dougherty, who was instrumental in saving the life of a burn victim last week, reported that firefighters on Culebra helped to re-install an HF antenna at the hospital there. “We had to climb a telephone pole off the edge of a cliff behind the hospital,” Dougherty said. “It was fun.” He also got their emergency VHF radio working again, and he presented a class to hospital staffers and first responders on how to use the Icom IC-706 that’s on site, encouraging them to get their ham licenses.
Jorge Ortiz-Santiago, WP4ONI, assisted with a reunification between a mother and a son in Jayuya.
Personnel from WTOP radio in Washington, DC, and the National Association of Broadcasters plan to distribute 10,000 AM/FM radios and 1,000 Sirius-XM radios to local governments. — Thanks to Valerie Hotzfeld NV9L; Puerto Rico SM Oscar Resto, KP4RF, and FEMA ESF-2 Amateur Radio Liaison Gary Sessums, KC5QCN