Emergency Communications and Disaster Resources

One of the most popular uses of amateur radio is for emergency communications. In the event of a major disaster, normal communications may be disrupted and amateur radio may be the only way to pass important information and messages. Organizations such as ARES and RACES, as well as many others, have an organized system of deploying ham radio operators to help establish emergency communications “when all else fails.” At the bottom of this list is “Skywarn,” a branch of the National Weather Service that registers and trains volunteers to provide “spotter” information on potentially dangerous weather conditions. Although Skywarn spotters use amateur radio to make reports to the NWS, you could also train to be a “weather spotter” where you provide reports via phone or web site and a ham radio is not necessary. I have provided many good weather related links to make the weather spotter’s job easier and more fun! In addition, you will find many good links to quickly find information on disasters and other emergency situations.

If you like to do things to help your community, emergency communications might be right for you. Use the list below to read about the many different organizations, and find a few that seem like a good match for what you like to do, and then attend a meeting and find out what you need to do to get started. Perhaps we will meet out in the field some day when we are both working at a disaster site!

Note: I discovered that some of these links are no longer working. I will fix this when I get a chance. If you notice some links that don’t go anywhere, please email me at tom@aa6ts.com and let me know. Thanks!

State and Federal Emergency Resources

American Red Cross Home Page
CalEMA / California Emergency Management Agency Hazard Mitigation Page
CalFire / California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection
FEMA Wireless Emergency Alerts
FEMA California Region 9
FEMA Independent Study Program
FEMA Independent Study Program (ISP) Courses (Easy to use Complete List)
FEMA Online Training – National Incident Management System (NIMS) Courses
RACES (Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service)
RACES Info From QSL Net

San Diego County Emergency Resources

Great list of fire and disaster links for San Diego County by Craig Williams
Ready San Diego – Prepare, Plan, Stay Informed
Ready San Diego – Faith Based
San Diego County Office of Emergency Services
San Diego County OES Emergency Site
San Diego County Recovery Site
San Diego County RACES (A division of SD Sheriff ACS)
San Diego Sheriff
City of San Diego Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)
San Diego County Fire Authority CERT – Southern Division
Other San Diego County CERT Contacts

Fire Information and Resources

How to prepare for a wildfire (Preparation and evacuation)
Southern California 7 Day Significant Fire Potential
CalFire Incidents – Current fire information
California Statewide Fire Map
Border Fire (June 2016) Updates
Broadcastify – Audio feed of Rural County, CAL-Fire and USFS
CAL FIRE MVU Strategic Plan 2014
CalFire daily Intel report for San Louis Obispo – contains some good stats for other counties
California Fire News blog
CalFire Information Twitter feed for San Diego County
Cleaveland National Forest Twiter Feed
East County Magazine Fire Alerts
GeoMac Active Fire Viewer (Real-time Map)
USDA Forest Service Active Fire Map
Incident Information System (Active California Fires)
National InterAgency Fire Center
San Diego County Fire Information Resources
San Diego East County “Brush Fire Partyline”
San Diego Fire Weather
Wildland Fire (Sort of a Blog)

Earthquake Information and Resources

California Institute of Technology Southern California Earthquake Data Center
Drop, Cover & Hold: Earthquake Safety for Kids
The Earthquake Recovery Resource Guide
Earthquake Safety at School
Free Disaster Recovery Training for Volunteers
A Guide to Keeping Your Family Safe During an Earthquake
Plate Tectonics Basics (Understand about earthquakes and geology)
USGS Earthquake Hazards Program
USGS Map of Recent Earthquakes

Disaster Preparedness and Recovery

After Action Reports
Coordinated Assistance Network
The Digital Responder – Newsletter for IT Specialists involved in Disaster Services
Emergeny Management Magazine Disaster Preparednes & Recovery
FEMA 3-Step Guide to Assistance
Fuel Relief Fund
National Disaster Interfaiths Network
Ready America (Disaster supplies for sale)
The Red Guide to Recovery
San Diego VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster)
San Diego Interfaith Disaster Twitter Feed
Volunteer Ministers (Scientology) Site
LDS Emergency Preparedness
Lutherine Disaster Response
Interesting survival radio

ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service)

ARES Public Service Communications Manual
ARRL Field Organization Appointment
ARRL Field Organization Forms
ARRL Section Managers and Section Information
ARRL Online Courses For Emergency Operations
Register As An ARES Volunteer
Search The ARRL Net Web Site

Southern California Regional ARES Sections

Antelope Valley ARES
Los Angeles ARES
Ventura County ARES
San Diego ARES
Santa Clara ARES
Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (Orange County)

Local Amateur Radio and Public Service Emergency Services

Coronado Emergency Radio Operators (CERO)
W6CAW Amateur Radio and Emergency Communications Site
Mountain Empire Amateur Radio Club (MEARC – KK6FBC)
REACT International, Inc.(Radio Emergency Associated Communications Teams)
Southwestern REACT of San Diego County Inc.
RadioReference.com – Latest critical incidents, plus listen live to San Diego area scanner frequencies
Listen to scanner traffic on your computer
REACT & Public Service Links From GMWS-Web Magazine

Useful Emergency and Disaster Information Links

Register to work Comms at the 2014 Boston Marathon
Disaster.Net – Internet Disaster Information Center
PoliceOne.com – Website for law enforcement
Emergency Coomunications And Disaster Information Links From RACES
Emergency Communication Tips from Tippecanoe County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Just In Time Online Disaster Training Library
Mountaintop Cameras from UCSD website
Another Great Webcam Site for San Diego County
National Incident Management System (FEMA)
National Traffic System Basics (great presentation by kg6ila)
PowerPort – Portable power supplies and packs and pouches for communications equipment
QSL Net Emergency Coomunications Links For All Of USA
San Diego County Air Quality Maps
San Diego Radio/Emergency Medical Communications – Great disaster links!
SDG&E Outage Maps
How to build a “Go Kit” by N6TKT
San Diego 211 – Good Site for Local Information

San Diego County Traffic Information Links

CHP Traffic Incident Information Page
Caltrans Quickmap (Shows incidents, closures, etc. Check the six boxes in upper left of page)
CHP Traffic Incident Page – Customize to your specific needs
SigAlert.com – Live traffic map for San Diego area

Skywarn, National Weather Service and Useful Weather Links

Skywarn National Home Page
Skywarn Online Storm Spotter’s Forum
Southwestern California Skywarn Home Page
National Weather Service Skywarn Page
NWS Skywarn Page for San Diego
Skywarn Training: Role of the Skywarn Spotter
Skywarn Training: Skywarn Spotter Convective Basics
Index to Skywarn Pages on the Internet
Skywarn links
National Weather Service Home Page
NWS Email and SMS Weather Alert Services
Regional NWS office for San Diego
Local Weather Forcast Office for San Diego
NOAA’s NWS Storm Prediction Center
NWS National Hurricane Center
NWS Central Pacific Hurricane Center
NWS eSpotter Program
Interactive National Weather Service (iNWS)
Interactive Weather Page
NWS Jetstream
NOAA National Severe Storms Laboratory
NWS Storm Warnings
NWS Local National Weather Service Doppler Radars
NWS Experimental Rainfall Summary
NWS 24 Hour Forecast
NWS Graphical Forecasts for San Diego
NWS Quantitative Precipitation Statement
NWS Flood Watch
NWS Weather and Hazards Data Viewer
NWS Mobile Weather
NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center
NOAA “Weather-Ready Nation” Iniative
Become a NOAA “Weather-Ready Nation” Ambassador
“Become a Storm Spotter From Home” – Excellent links to weather and spotting resources
Severe Storms Online Meteorology Guide
WeatherPhotographs.com – Good weather photos, plus a mobile app
Doppler Weather Map
Recent Satellite Images
The Anything Weather Store
Tom’s Personal Weather Links

Tom Smerk, ©2012-2016