LIHUE — The Kauai Amateur Radio club is sponsoring a presentation on the response to Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico when the hurricane decimated the communications infrastructure of the island and how the amateur radio operators responded to the event.
The presentation will be held at the Nawiliwili Yacht Club, Nawiliwili Small Boat Harbor starting at 6 p.m. Friday.
The presenter will be the Oscar Resto, American Radio Relay League section manager for Puerto Rico. Oscar coordinated the islandwide amateur radio communications effort providing support to hospitals, electric generating facilities, first responders, and government agencies. He promises an interesting talk covering many unanticipated situations that presented themselves during the event and how they were overcome.
The presentation will discuss the impact hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico’s population and how it affected water and electricity services and caused massive commercial communication interruptions to all government and business infrastructures.
This firsthand report conveys the enormous issues faced by first responders in a catastrophe of this scale. Problems faced by an island community like Puerto Rico can give insight into issues that may someday have to be faced in Kauai.
This event affected the living conditions of 3.2 million U.S. citizens who are still recovering and reconstructing. The events, and the critical decisions made, helped us learn how vulnerable we are to natural disasters.
Amateur Radio operators used their knowledge of radio technology and resources efficiently to re- establish critical infrastructures. In this scale of emergencies where government repeater networks were destroyed, Amateurs were called on to use their technical skills to create communication solutions in addition to volunteering for long hours operating stations.
Kauai, like Puerto Rico, is an isolated island and could face many of the same challenges the Puerto Rican Emergency Communications organizations had not foreseen or planned for sufficiently.
During this catastrophic event the importance of HF, a well-developed VHF/UHF simplex network, and the newer digital modes became clear. It would behoove all Kauai organizations with an EMCOMM component to re-evaluate their readiness based on Oscar’s firsthand experiences and lessons learned in Puerto Rico.
This presentation is an opportunity to learn what worked and what didn’t, where planning fell short, and how Amateur Radio operators used their knowledge of radio technology and personal resources to re-establish critical communication infrastructure destroyed by the hurricane.
You will hear about communications procedures, equipment, and training that were put in place to respond to the massive devastation hurricane Maria caused. You will learn how the Puerto Rican Amateur Radio operators dealt with this catastrophic event and, in particular, the prolonged loss of Internet service islandwide.
This presentation will be followed by a Q&A session to give the audience an opportunity to learn how to better prepare for this type of natural event.
To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to www.arrl.org or www.kauaiarc.org. The public is most cordially invited to attend.