New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service


ARES/RACES NYC Effort Stands Down;
REACT Still Seeking Amateur Operators

NEWINGTON, CT, Sep 25, 2001- After nearly two weeks of intense effort, the Amateur Radio volunteer effort in New York City is winding down. While some operations will continue through today, ARRL New York City-Long Island ARES Section Emergency Coordinator Tom Carrubba, KA2D, says all ARES/RACES World Trade Center operations have ceased.

A message on the World Trade Center Disaster Communications Volunteer Registration Web site offered "A 'Big Apple' thank you from the ops in NYC!" to all who had volunteered or offered to help.

REACT International continues to seek additional Amateur Radio and licensed GMRS users, primarily to support the Salvation Army's relief efforts in New York City. REACT International Secretary Lee Besing, N5NTG, said his organization has been lining up volunteers, and Jeff Schneller, N2HPO--who's affiliated with the Salvation Army Team Emergency Response Network (SATERN)--has been doing the scheduling for the support effort.

Besing says a fire crew from Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, has been among those offering to help. Others include the WC4RAV Radio Amateur Volunteers group in Georgia, which is sending a complete mobile command center that includes an emergency repeater--plus volunteers--for a week, he said. He said the Salvation Army anticipates that its response could last up to another six months. Besing said REACT needs up to two dozen volunteers a day but wants those who are willing and able to first visit the REACT International Web site or send e-mail to "Don't just show up!" he requested.

The System Works

Carrubba says the American Red Cross closed all shelters that remained open in New York City on Sunday, September 23, while the New York City Office of Emergency Management shut down Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service support Monday, September 24. An American Red Cross net supporting two respite stations from Red Cross Headquarters in Brooklyn was expected to wind down by today. Any remaining Amateur Radio Emergency Service activity would be handled by volunteers from the Greater New York City area, he said.

ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Manager George Tranos, N2GA, expressed his gratitude to all Amateur Radio operators who came forward to assist the ARES/RACES effort. "The system works and our 'hobby' has performed well as a 'service' to the public," Tranos said. Tranos said some 500 Amateur Radio volunteers helped out with communications support for the disaster. "The ARES organization has done a good job in mobilizing--some being on scene and ready on the morning of September 11," he said. Tranos also praised Carrubba, who, he said, "showed the way and was instrumental in the administration, organization and logistics of the operation." Carrubba, in turn, thanked the recruiters for "a great job filling the grid during this incident."

Cooperation was Key

Tranos said the ARES/RACES response and the cooperation of all involved was vital to a successful activation. "The key was to have a structure in place with good leadership who already knew what to do," he said. "We learned that cooperation between and among programs is also a key ingredient to success. National Traffic System was activated and ready to assist." Tranos said that in the New York City situation, the telephone system was repaired fairly quickly, minimizing the need for health-and-welfare traffic, "but NTS was ready regardless." "Thanks and congratulations go to each of those who helped," Tranos concluded. "Now, hopefully, we can try to return to some degree of normalcy."

New York City-Long Island SEC Tom Carrubba, KA2D (left),
and New York City ARRL District Emergency Coordinator and
RACES Radio Officer Charles Hargrove, N2NOV, compare
notes during the ARES/RACES effort. [ARRL Photo]
John Allocca, WB2LUA, was among the operators at
the Red Cross Brooklyn headquarters.