Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Oklahoma hams help Okmulgee County Emergency Management

OKMULGEE, OK - The Okmulgee County Emergency Management has been awarded $3,670.85 in a Grant award from Operation Round Up and the ECE Foundation.  

Several area radio amateurs helped Okmulgee County Emergency Management with the planing of the grant project:  They are Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) EC for Okmulgee County Jason Dawson KF5KFB, the Regional ARES-OK leader Ben Joplin WB5VST, ARES-OK Volunteer Andrew McCullough KE5WPH, and ARES-OK SEC Mark Conklin N7XYO.

In Oklahoma most SKYWARN storm spotters report their observations via amateur radio to local emergency management. The tracking and guiding storm spotters to safe observation locations during a severe weather events can be a challenge.

In the late 1980's amateur radio developed Automatic Packet Reporting System (APRS).  APRS, is a system where amateur radio operators use Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers along with their amateur radios to report their locations as they move.  APRS is one of the most useful tools available to both SKYWARN storm spotters and emergency communications. Accurate positioning information is crucial when reporting information during severe weather events or other emergencies. APRS can also aid in providing accurate location information to emergency management from a disaster scene, especially when all other "known" landmarks may have been damaged or removed.

Timothy D. Craighton, Director Okmulgee County Emergency Management holds up grant award check
To benefit the citizens of Okmulgee and our neighboring counties, OCEM plan to construct and maintain several APRS digital repeaters systems, a APRS base receiving station for OCEM's Emergency Operations Center, add APRS systems to several key OCEM vehicles, as well develop several portable APRS tracking systems.

"The support of community partners like East Central Electric Coop is critical to our efforts to service the citizens of Okmulgee County." Said Tim Craighton, Director, Okmulgee County Emergency Management. "This grant will allow OCEM to begin to make these improvements immediately."

These improved APRS systems in Okmulgee county are open to all licensed amateur radio SKYWARN storm spotters – and will be installed in locations that will be of benefit to the counties to the east, south and the west of Okmulgee county.

For more information about Amateur Radio Emergency Service, see while gives information about the Okmulgee County EMA.

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