Emergency management, licensed amateur radio operators to test skills in Southwick

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SOUTHWICK – Area Emergency Management personnel will be joined by licensed amateur radio operators for a two-day emergency communications exercise here June 28 and 29.

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Several emergency communications stations, of various equipment, will be set up at the Town Hall complex and adjacent Prifti Park as part of the effort to establish emergency communications with various locations throughout the United States and Canada.


Southwick Emergency Management director Charles H. Dunlap said the event will mark the 52nd year Southwick has participated in the national exercise. There will be at least 15 participants here representing Southwick, Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency, Agawam, Blandford, Granville, Ludlow and East Longmeadow. Amateur radio operators are members of the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service. Auxiliary police will also join the exercise. There will also be more than six volunteers to serve as support personnel.


Communications must be established by 2 p.m. on June 28 and will run non-stop until 2 p.m. on June 29, Dunlap said.


“The event will test our ability to establish emergency communications and pass along pertinent information necessary to manage and control an emergency situation,” the director said.


Those participating here will assume a severe weather related disaster.


The event is open to the public and Dunlap said those attending will gain knowledge of emergency communications systems and practices.


“These annual tests allow emergency personnel and volunteer licensed radio operators to test their skills and disaster type simulations,” he said.


“We provide communications where regular communications systems are down,” he explained.


At least three different emergency communications systems will be established during the event to handle local, regional and national service. “We have the ability to establish emergency communications for any type disaster from hurricanes to normal power outages,” Dunlap said.


The exercise also involves the Federal Emergency Management Agency and Federal Communications Commission.


“This is a functional exercise that involves set-up and sustained regional, state and national communications for a full 24-hour period of time,” he said.


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