The Louisville Amateur Radio Emergency Action (A.R.E.A.) Plan is an instructional guide detailing what actions to take (from an amateur radio standpoint) before, during or after an emergency.
When an emergency situation effecting normal lines of communication occurs or is expected to occur, a general announcement will be made by Jefferson County ARES over the N9TV 146.940 repeater.
If the N9TV repeater is down or unavailable, we will use the W4CN 147.180 repeater. If both repeaters are down we may use simplex on 146.940 or 147.180 or another repeater. You may also want to monitor Louisville RACES on the W4PJZ 147.030 repeater as well as the KB4YJ 442.725 repeater. Except in a life or death emergency, DO NOT check-in to a RACES net unless you are a member.
For weather related events, monitor the National Weather Service SKYWARN net on the KY4KY 146.700 repeater. When the SKYWARN Emergency Net is in operation they will use the call sign WX4NWS, contact the Net Control Station ONLY if you have emergency weather conditions to report. Do not check into the SKYWARN Net with non-emergency traffic, to report non-threatening weather (i.e. to report light rain, moderate winds) or to request a weather report for your area. Also, do not check in to relay weather information from local broadcast stations. Report weather conditions only of which you are trained and knowledgeable to report. Sending in misinformation to the National Weather Service is detrimental to our purpose.
As an amateur radio operator (whether you're a trained EMCOMM volunteer or not) knowing how to use your radio in an emergency is vary important, both for yourself and anyone who may need your help.
If an emergency has happened OR is expected to happen (such as severe weather), monitor the designated frequency/s listed above for information about the situation and to offer any assistance you can provide when requested either by the Net Control Station or other amateurs if a formal net is not in progress. On a DIRECTED net, only transmit at the direction of the Net Control Station!
If asked to do so, check in with the Net Control Station and notify him/her of your availability to assist, your location, and any equipment you have available (if needed). Monitor the operation as continuously as possible. Remember that ONLY trained, registered ARES/RACES members may deploy as part of an ARES/RACES operation. If you are not registered with the appropriate group or agency or haven't completed the required training, you may not be able to deploy and your ability assist will be limited, but you can still be an important part of the operation by monitoring other frequencies for emergency traffic and directing it to the net, by passing messages from the net to their destination via radio or landline or by volunteering the use of your equipment for the operation.
If you ARE registered and fully trained as an ARES/RACES operator, you may deploy only at the direction of the Net Control Station. Do not attempt to deploy without specific directions of where and when to appear. If you enter a disaster area without authorization, you will not be signed in or considered part of the emergency response effort and you may even be ARRESTED.
All amateurs are responsible for their own safety and should take no action that places them in personal jeopardy. In a questionable situation, pull back and report your situation to the Net Control Station.
When calling to be recognized by Net Control, it is not necessary to give the NCS call sign. In a directed net, all stations communicate only with Net Control unless directed to do so otherwise. Therefore, transmitting only your call sign or your "tactical" call sign (i.e. Team 1) means that you are requesting to be recognized by the NCS. If you have traffic, giving your tactical call sign plus the word "traffic" is sufficient to make your needs known. If you traffic carries an emergency precedence, give your call sign followed by the words "emergency traffic."
How to Handle an Emergency Call
Every amateur needs to know how to handle a basic emergency call. Answer a call for help by saying something like: "Go ahead (caller's call sign or other identifier) this is (your call) how can I help you?"
1. KEEP CALM! The more reason there is to be excited, the more important it is for YOU to stay calm.
2. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! Get all available information about the incident. To make this easier, remember the four W’s:
WHAT? Exactly what is the nature of the emergency?
WHERE? Get the exact location of the emergency including cross-streets, mile markers, major landmarks, direction of travel (for moving incidents like drunk drivers) and any other information that could help emergency workers find the location.
WHO? Who is involved in the incident (man, woman, child)? How many people? Are they injured? Is the caller still at the scene of the incident?
WHEN? How long ago did the incident occur?
Ask the caller to standby on the frequency incase more information is needed.
3. REPORT! Find out what jurisdiction the incident is in and contact the appropriate agency. Try to contact the local dispatch center using a NON-EMERGENCY number so as not to tie up an emergency line. If you do not know how to contact the local authorities and/or you believe it is a life or death emergency, call 911 and give them the information and they will either relay the report to the correct agency or they will connect you to them so you can report directly. A list of non-emergency dispatch numbers for the Louisville area is included at the end of the A.R.E.A. plan.
Be sure to give all details EXACTLY AS WRITTEN, do not change any details.
The Four Cs
The best advice for any radio operator can be summarized by the four C’s, Calm, Courteous, Correct and Concise.
Try to keep emotion out of your voice. No matter what the emergency. A calm, professional attitude will keep things cool.
You must think of your self as a public servant. Regardless of provocation, remain courteous at all times. NEVER display a temper on the air.
Try to keep errors out of your communications. Learn and use PROPER phonetic alphabet names and have the caller repeat details if needed to get the information accurately. Avoid using non-ITU phonetic names as this may confuse some operators. Write EVERYTHING down for reference, a small inexpensive tape or digital voice recorder is a good thing to keep in your home or mobile shack and can be connected inline with your speaker for best audio quality.
If you live on or near jurisdictional boundaries, get a street map and mark these boundaries to help you better determine what agency to contact.
Always remember, it is better to admit that you don’t know then to give wrong information.
Keep your transmissions as brief as possible, leave a second or two between transmissions to give any other stations with emergency traffic a chance to transmit.
An autopatch is a device that allows hams to make telephone calls through a repeater. This can be vary handy when landline or cellular communications are down in your local area.
To use autopatch you must have a touch-tone keypad on your FM transceiver. On most repeaters, you must have a signal strength of at least S3 to be able to use the autopatch. With the microphone keyed, press the command to bring up the autopatch and then the phone number of the person you want to call. This has to be a continuous dialing sequence. Then unkey the microphone and wait for the caller to answer. Inform the caller that you are on the radio. In this instance, the caller must also adhere to FCC regulations. You may want to forewarn individuals of these regulations prior to calling them. Once the phone call is over, with your microphone keyed, press the command to take the autopatch down. Give your call sign to clear.
1. Emergencies ALWAYS take priority over other uses of the repeater.
2. Always identify (complete call sign) before using any of the repeater functions and at the end of any series of transmissions. Failure to do so could result in fines and/or loss of license.
3. You cannot conduct activities on amateur radio that are a normal part of your job, or any activity in which you have a pecuniary interest. This means that you can call your doctor to cancel an appointment, but you cannot call your office to get messages. If in doubt DON'T DO IT.
4. Before making an autopatch call, make sure the frequency is not in use. Then give your call sign and say "accessing the autopatch."
5. Autopatches should not be made solely to avoid telephone toll charges. Autopatches should never be made when normal telephone service could be just as easily used.
6. If, while using the autopatch, you are placed on hold, identify every 10 to 15 seconds and advise you are on hold. This will prevent someone who just tuned to this frequency from transmitting inadvertently.
Louisville Area Repeaters with Autopatch
KY4KY 146.700 -600 KHz Offset PL 79.7 W4CN 147.180 +600 KHz Offset PL 79.7
* (star) + number to connect * (star) + number + D to connect
# (pound) to disconnect # (pound) + D to disconnect
Urban (former city) (502) 574-7111
Suburban (former county) (502) 574-2111
Bullitt County Central Dispatch (502) 955-7480
Nelson County Dispatch (502) 348-3211
Shelby County Dispatch (502) 633-2323
Oldham County Dispatch (502) 222-0111
Spencer County Dispatch (502) 477-5533
Kentucky State Police Elizabethtown Post 4 (270) 766-5078
Clark County IN. Dispatch (812) 246-7475
Floyd County IN. Sheriff / Dispatch (812) 948-5400
Indiana State Police Sellersburg District 45 (812) 246-5424
Thank you for taking time to read the Louisville A.R.E.A. plan. We hope it has given you the basic information needed to handle a radio emergency situation.
For more emergency preparedness information go to www.JeffersonCountyARES.org
Amateur Radio Emergency Service