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Recent global earthquakes inspire Mid-Island residents to learn emergency radio skills Mar 02, 2023

With the recent deadly earthquakes in Turkiye and Syria top of mind, people on Vancouver Island are getting prepared with emergency communications.

A group in the Comox Valley is planning ahead and says amateur radio operators will be a sought-after commodity if an emergency strikes.

"In every major disaster that we know of there is always, for some period of time, a mass communications failure," said Scott Goodman, an emergency radio coordinator.

Should such a natural disaster happen in the Comox Valley, Goodman and his team of volunteers will keep communication links with the outside world.

Now, Goodman and the Comox Valley Regional District are looking for a few more volunteers to assist them in that challenge.

"If people have amateur radio licenses they can get on a network of other amateurs and start doing situational awareness. They can use frs radio, such as handheld walkie-talkies to connect." Said Howie Siemens, Comox Valley Regional District manager of emergency programs.

The regional district will be holding a free amateur radio course beginning on March 5 to highlight what's needed.

"The radio operators will be working out of a room that we have been working on to build that redundancy that, when everything else fails, they’ll be there to make sure those last miles of connection of communication happen," said Siemens.

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