For the third year in a row, the Amateur Radio Emergency Service and the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (ARES/RACES) were a featured component of the largest gathering of tribal disaster preparedness, recovery, hazard mitigation, and homeland security professionals in the US. The annual conference, held in mid-September, was organized by the National Tribal Emergency Management Council and hosted by the Tachi-Yokut Tribe at their Santa Rosa Rancheria in Lemoore, California. Radio amateurs were prominent among the conference presenters. Two ARRL San Joaquin Valley (SJV) Section groups, Fresno ARES/RACES and Tulare County ARES pooled resources and set up special event station N8V, with multiple operating positions on the lawn adjacent to the conference hotel.
“Many conference attendees stopped by to view the display,” SJV Section Emergency Coordinator Hal Clover, AD9HC, recounted. “Radiograms home were offered with several being sent via operators at the event.”
Throughout the week, many tribe members visited the special event station, picked up ARRL literature, and discussed building a stronger Amateur Radio presence within their tribes — both as a way to support their emergency and disaster preparedness and to bring their communities together.
NTEMC Chairman Richard Broncheau, KG7NRJ, welcomed attendees on opening day, September 21, and NTEMC Executive Director Lynda Zambrano, KE7RWG, provided a NTEMC “Year in Review.” Later in the day, Adam Geisler, KJ6YHN, of the La Jolla Band of Luiseño Indians, was a panelist at an open forum, “FirstNet Unscripted,” about the First Responder Network Authority. A series of tribal dances were presented by the Tachi-Yokut HOOPS Youth Council Traditional Dancers, following dinner.
Breakout Sessions on September 21 and 22 included a presentation on the National Tribal Amateur Radio Association by Nathan Nixon, N7NAN, Public Safety Programs Director with the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona; “FirstNet’s Second Steps: Real world applications for tribal emergency response,” with Geisler and Rita Mooney, KG5JAT, Texas Department of Public Safety among the panelists; “Introduction to CAMEO,” a free suite of applications for planning and responding to chemical emergencies, with Elisa Roper, KM4BUG, Tribal Liaison with FEMA Region IV, and Al Finkelstein; and “Administration for Children and Family Services — IDCM,” with Wendi Ellis, KK6WQO, Regional Emergency Management Specialist in FEMA Region IX, and Stephen Miller as presenters.
Nixon co-hosted a presentation, “Join us for our First Tribal Coast to Coast Exercise.” Simulated emergency messages for an earthquake scenario were sent via Amateur Radio from the conference special event station to FEMA Region II in New York.
Another breakout session, “A Conversation: Increasing Tribal Human Services Preparedness,” was hosted by Suzanne Everson, KI7EGE, Regional Emergency Management Specialist, Administration for Children and Families.
Before the conference, a Technician licensing class resulted in newly licensed amateurs, including Jason Sisco, KM6FKK, environmental systems with the Tachi-Yokut Tribe, and Scott Mercer, KM6FKL, a tribal security officer. — Thanks to Steve Aberle, WA7PTM, Washington Assistant State RACES Officer (Tribal Liaison) via the ARRL ARES E-Letter