Our served agencies are accustomed to utilizing direct (i.e. person-to-person) and virtually instantaneous communications to conduct their operations. These means of communication (e.g. the telephone, email with attachments, and instant messaging through a wide variety of platforms) depend upon extensive, and often fragile, infrastructure which can be disrupted during incidents ranging in scale from a localized fiber-optic cable cut to regional severe weather events.
As past FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, said in Ham Radio Now Emcomm Extra #8, when an incident occurs “they just want their email to work.”
Traditional public service (aka Emcomm) messaging often does not meet the expectations of today’s served agencies (our customers). Amateur Radio operator typically utilize indirect communication paths with paper forms for origination / delivery and transcription style transfer methods (e.g. voice or CW); this does not provide the style of communication preferred by our customers.
Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, was the FEMA Administrator over the course of the Obama presidency and was a vocal proponent of the public service communications provided by Amateur Radio Operators. The February 21, 2017, episode of Ham Radio Now was dedicated to an interview of KK4INZ; during this interview he discusses what Amateur Radio Operators need to do in the future to remain a valuable public service asset during emergencies.