Guwahati, Friday, February 24, 2017

Disaster preparedness: APRO to use amateur radio
Staff Reporter

 GUWAHATI, Feb 23 - To add teeth to the disaster preparedness, Assam Police Radio Organisation (APRO) has decided to fall back on the use of amateur radio, also known as HAM radio.

 The APRO is already working on a plan to regroup trained HAM radio operators once again after the Government of India lifted the ban on its use recently.

At a seminar organised by APRO on ‘Restoration of Communication in a Disaster Scenario - Role of First Responder’ here today, Director General of Assam Police Mukesh Sahay opined that the use of conventional and simple gadgets should never be done away with completely as they are easy to handle in times of crisis.

“Disaster has increased both in number and gravity. Therefore, preparing for the ‘unknown unknowns’ is very crucial from the perspective of disaster preparedness, especially when all the communication channels might run out of order. Trained HAM radio operators could come in handy at such times,” Sahay said.

Special Director General of Police (Law and Order) Kula Saikia dwelt at length on the significance of developing infrastructure independent communication system, which may prove to be the most effective and the only medium of communication at times of crisis.

“When all the conventional setups run out of order at the time of disaster, it is the infrastructure-free communication that may prove to be crucial,” Saikia said.

On HAM radio, he urged the APRO to regroup the system.

S Ram Mohan, Director, National Institute of Amateur Radio, Hyderabad, who played an active role in a number of post-disaster mitigation exercises in India, said that inter-agency cooperation is an unavoidable proposition when it comes to disaster preparedness.

He stressed the need for a well defined command structure, which makes the operation swift.

“Good communication and informed coordination are quintessential,” he added.