Nassau County ARES © 2013
AUTOMATIC POSITION REPORTING SYSTEM
capabilities can provide real-time location tracking and digital communications at large public events.
Other situations that our teams handle include helping to locate lost spectators and participants, and alerting the police to specific issues that require their immediate response.
Simply stated, ARES operators act as a directed network of eyes and ears who remain focused on the mission, and not on the event festivities.
This was brought home solidly at the 2013 Boston Marathon attack.
The Boston ARES Net Control station received instructions and then immediately alerted every ham radio operator on the course at once to stop the marathon. ARES operators close to the bomb location were able to instantly report back the situation to Net Control and to Marathon Administrators. These hams swiftly switched gears into an EMCOMM Net. And as cellular communications became over loaded from frantic public use, the outstanding Boston radio operators became an in-place asset for First Responders and Officials, as well as a vital tool for logistics information and to help families locate one another.
We are immensely proud of their actions and their professional performance during this chaotic tragedy.
Each public event we assist at is unique because of the nature of the activity, the topography and the distances involved. Using the Nassau County Marathon as an example, which is spread out over a 26 mile course, we map out the locations where our team members need to be placed well in advance, and we may assign them Tactical Call Signs, such as "Mile 14", or "Med Tent 3". It is not unusual for our radio operators to be placed every 1/4 to 1/2 mile apart in some instances, particularly in high density or bottle neck areas.
Event managers are aware of our location assignments in advance of the event, and our highly visible team members know who their Event Liasion is at each location. In remote ares, such as within stretches of the golf course, we station radio operators to watch specifically for medical issues so that the proper EMT or Med group is alerted if there is a medical need.
The ARES Net Control station is our command post and is typically located at the finish line of the race, adjacent to other event administrators and often near a medical command tent. ARES operators along the marathon course report all situations back to ARES Net Control, who then records these radio reports and makes sure that the correct event personnel or medical team is quickly notified. We use both voice and digital modes to communicate with Net Control.
Our reports may consist of runner bib numbers, injuries, requests for additional supplies at rest stops, message handling or requests for sweep vehicles to pick up individuals who cannot complete a marathon.